Masayoshi Son, the top manager of the Japanese telecom company and investor SoftBank, will step down from the board of the Chinese web store giant Alibaba. He announced this at the end of the annual shareholders meeting of SoftBank. His departure coincides with that of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who will give up his board seat at SoftBank on Thursday. Ma had previously announced that step.
Son has been on the board of Alibaba since 2005. This happened after the investor took a large interest in the then still small Chinese web store. Ma joined the board of SoftBank two years later. In 2000, Son decided to invest $ 20 million in Alibaba, after talking with Ma for a few minutes.
Son says to step down at his own request and that he wanted to coordinate his departure with Ma’s departure. According to him, there was no dispute between Son and Alibaba. The investment in the Chinese company is known as one of the most successful of SoftBank. In terms of credit rating, share price and financing, the Japanese rely largely on the great interest in Alibaba.
Every now and then SoftBank decides to sell Alibaba shares to raise money. Those billions were used for a share buyback program and to prop up SoftBank’s balance sheet.