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SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is facing pressure to unveil a new stock buyback programme next week, as the Japanese technology group’s falling share price has created “deep frustration” among shareholders, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The pressure underscores a view by some SoftBank investors, including activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which has a large stake in the company, that the only short-term catalyst for its flagging share price is a capital return programme.
Such a position stands in contrast to Son’s continued focus on pouring billions of dollars into early-stage start-ups. This year he has committed to allocating a further $20bn to the existing $20bn in its second Vision Fund.
Investor pressure has been building for some time. SoftBank shares peaked in mid-March at the ¥10,700 level, but are down 42 per cent since then.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Gary
Five more stories in the news
1. Opec endangering economic recovery, says US The White House has said Opec+ risks imperilling the global economic recovery by refusing to speed up oil production increases and warned that the US was prepared to use “all tools” necessary to lower fuel prices.
2. ‘Don’t give up on China,’ says investment pioneer China’s ability to create world-leading tech companies will outlast the clampdown that crushed investor sentiment, says Baillie Gifford’s James Anderson, who backed Meituan, ByteDance and Alibaba when they were still private companies.
3. Uber delivers, Airbnb reports record earnings Uber delivered its first profitable quarter on an adjusted basis, thanks to a rapidly recovering ride-share business and a boom in food delivery. Airbnb, meanwhile, enjoyed record earnings in the third quarter thanks to a travel industry recovery and in-house belt-tightening.
4. Global shoppers feel the pinch of rising food prices From France to Brazil, from Moscow’s weekend markets to Brooklyn’s Eighth Avenue, food prices have surged because of bad weather and the supply chain problems that came with the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
5. Western cocaine users ‘culpable’ in Amazon destruction Colombia’s president has hit out at cocaine users in the west who preach environmentalism while consuming a drug whose production is one of the biggest causes of Amazon deforestation.
Indonesia’s environment minister called a global commitment to halt deforestation “inappropriate and unfair”, causing the agreement to fray.
A flagship global agreement to slash coal use was undermined yesterday as the US refused to sign up and the text was weakened.
A top UN official has blasted the World Bank for being “an ongoing underperformer” on climate change.
Gillian Tett outlines the two factors that will determine whether climate pledges can be turned into promises kept. Sign up here for Moral Money, our sustainable finance newsletter, published every weekday during COP26.
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The day ahead
Tommy Stubbington, the FT’s capital markets correspondent, and Kate Duguid, US capital markets correspondent, will answer readers’ questions throughout the day (GMT) in a live Q&A.
Lord David Frost will meet Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice-president and EU Brexit negotiator, to discuss the Northern Ireland protocol.
Earnings: IAG, the parent company of British Airways, to report Q3 results.
US jobs report The labour department’s jobs report is expected to show employers added 450,000 non-farm jobs during the month, according to a Reuters poll of economists, up from 194,000 in September.
What else we’re reading
BoE governor struggles with messaging Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, who had earlier stoked expectations of a rate rise, wanted those listening yesterday — when he presented the central bank’s new inflation forecast and decision to hold back on raising interest rates — to accept contradictory messages.
Oil price soars as the world turns against fossil fuel In last year’s presidential election, Joe Biden spoke about leading the US in a “transition from oil”. Now he is asking the world’s crude producers to pump more of the fossil fuel to drive down prices.
Henry Kissinger’s stark warnings on China The former cold war strategist told the FT’s Edward Luce that artificial intelligence posed a far greater challenge than nuclear weapons, adding that the US did not know enough about AI to determine if China was ahead, or what it could do if it was.
‘We need to talk about techie tunnel vision’ Big Tech’s elite engineers might be brilliant but that does not mean they are qualified to organise our lives, writes Gillian Tett.
Spain’s Canary Islands have been a mainstay of the European tourist circuit since the 1960s, but La Graciosa, a dry speck just five miles end to end, has evaded development, despite being within swimming distance of Lanzarote.