SoftBank cuts about 150 staff globally: Source

The cuts will affect staff in the investment teams and back-office staff in departments such as finance and legal. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK- Japan's SoftBank Group is retrenching around 150 employees globally at its Vision Fund unit and SoftBank Group International, a person familiar with the matter said, as chief executive Masayoshi Son cuts headcount following huge losses on his tech bets.

Notices were going out to staff on Thursday and would affect around 3 per cent of workers across the two businesses, the person said. Major cost centres including the United States, Britain and China are affected, the person added.

SoftBank declined to comment.

The cuts will affect staff in the investment teams and back-office employees in departments such as finance and legal, a second source said.

Mr Son in August pledged to cut costs after the Vision Fund unit recorded a record US$50 billion (S$71.6 billion) loss in the six months to June, with the billionaire caught out by rising interest rates and political instability, which have hit tech valuations.

"We need to cut costs with no sacred areas," Mr Son said at the time.

The cuts also encompass SoftBank Group International, which was led by Mr Marcelo Claure before he exited the firm and which manages other group investments.

Vision Fund has radically scaled back investing activity, with Mr Son saying that SoftBank's second Vision Fund would primarily manage its existing portfolio.

SoftBank has sold down its stake in key asset Alibaba Group Holding and outlined plans to list its British chip design company, Arm.

Mr Son last week said that he planned to meet Samsung Electronics executives to discuss a potential "strategic alliance" between the South Korean technology giant and Arm. REUTERS

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