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Thursday, May 13, 2021
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COVID-19 crisis: SoftBank’s international arm fires 10% of its staff

SoftBank Group International has reportedly fired almost 10% or about two dozen of its employees to operate more efficiently amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Two managing partners of SoftBank’s $5-billion Latin America fund reportedly also voluntarily left.

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SoftBank Group International, an arm of SoftBank Group Corp. led by Marcelo Claure, has cut roughly 10% of its staff as part of a plan to operate more efficiently, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The reductions affected about two dozen employees in cities including San Carlos, California, and Miami, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they haven’t been made public. SoftBank Group International is prioritizing enabling its portfolio companies to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in a stronger position, while continuing to make selective investments, the person said.

In addition to the job cuts, two managing partners of SoftBank’s $5 billion Latin America fund, Murtaza Ahmed and Andres Freire, voluntarily departed, one of the people said. Mike Bucy, an operating partner at the firm who had been appointed as WeWork’s chief transformation officer in November, also has left SoftBank of his own accord, the person said.

A SoftBank spokeswoman declined to comment.

SoftBank said this week it expects a wider net loss for the fiscal year ended in March, because of deeper struggles at one of its largest investments, office-sharing startup WeWork. The Japanese conglomerate expects to lose 900 billion yen ($8.4 billion), up from a previous estimate of about 750 billion yen.

Its Latin America fund has backed companies including Colombia-based delivery startup Rappi, Brazilian fitness company Gympass and Argentine financial-technology firm Uala.

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