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SoftBank founder keen to go bargain hunting on Wall Street

New York: Softbank Group, facing scepticism of its investment strategy, conveyed a message to Wall Street on Monday: Now is the time to invest.

Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder and chief executive officer, told a roomful of fund managers and financial institutions at a private meeting in New York that recent market declines present an opportunity to invest in companies at discounted valuations, according to people who attended. He also argued that SoftBank is well-positioned to pick the winners. Son highlighted Arm, whose technology is the basis of most of the world’s smartphone processors, as an effective bet for SoftBank, despite intensifying scrutiny about the British company’s losses.

SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son says Wall Street is presenting compelling value.

SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son says Wall Street is presenting compelling value.Credit:Bloomberg

For the last month, SoftBank has been trying to manage a campaign from an activist investor. Elliott Management, the New York-based investment firm, amassed a stake in SoftBank worth nearly $US3 billion ($4.6 billion) and outlined recommendations that it says would lift the company’s share price. They include increasing oversight of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, selling stock holdings and using the proceeds to buy back SoftBank shares.

Monday’s event, hosted by Goldman Sachs at the Lotte New York Palace hotel, gave investors a venue to pose questions to Son, the 62-year-old Japanese billionaire. Attendees were asked to email their queries to a Goldman Sachs moderator, who filtered and selected which ones to ask, according to attendees, who requested anonymity because the meeting was private. A spokeswoman for SoftBank declined to comment.

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