There are instances of people losing more money than most people can only dream of earning in a lifetime. Even worse, they have often lost this money in a relatively short period. One example of this is Ekita Batista, a Brazilian businessman, who lost an astronomic amount of money back in 2014. Due to a drop in the worldwide commodities market, this businessman’s net worth dropped dramatically from $35.5 billion to under $200 million in less than a year. To most people, this is a staggering amount of money to lose and it is easy to assume that this is the most money anyone has ever lost in the world. However, this is not the case as this dubious honor goes to a Japanese man called Masayoshi Son.
1) Son is the founder and the CEO of SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications conglomerate. When the dotcom bubble swelled in 2000, he had a net worth of an estimated $76 billion. The dotcom bubble exploded and affected businesses across the world. Masayoshi Son was one of those who suffered the most as his company’s share price plummeted and he suffered the largest personal loss in history.
2) At the age of 16, Masayoshi Son and his family moved to California from Japan. Despite having speaking poor English when he arrived in the United States, he managed to get degrees in computer science and economics from UC Berkeley.
3) The entrepreneur then started his own business renting cheap imported versions of Space Invaders to laundromats. When Son was 24, he founded SoftBank in Tokyo. In under a year, the company was publishing two magazines in the personal computer industry genre and it was also developing PC programs.
4) Masayoshi was determined and ambitious so he was always looking for ways to improve and expand his company. Over the following decade, he transformed his company into a telecommunications and media empire. During the mid-1990s, SoftBank became the number one satellite television provider in Japan and was also operating a stock brokerage firm. Not satisfied with this, Son also independently launched Yahoo! Japan in agreement with Yahoo! and this became the biggest search engine in Japan.
5) In 1995, Son took his company public and he became a billionaire overnight. He acquired a war chest and used this to rapidly expand SoftBank over the next five years, during which time the dotcom bubble was heating up. SoftBank had become one of the largest Internet technology companies in the world by 1999.
6) Using SoftBank, Masayoshi Son bought big stakes in large companies, such as Japan’s Nippon Credit Bank, Alibaba, and E*Trade. At the time, these were great investments and the market cap of SoftBank swelled to $180 million while Son’s net worth grew to $76 billion by early 2000 as he owned 42% of the company’s shares.
7) SoftBank did not fare well during this difficult period as it had such high Internet exposure. All Masayoshi Son’s investments lost massive amounts of value. Just one example of this is his investment in E*Trade. This was initially worth $400 million but dropped in value to a mere $22 million. The market cap of SoftBank fell from $180 billion to just $2.5 billion. This resulted in Son’s personal net worth plummeting from $76 billion to just $1.1 billion. While he is still a billionaire, he still lost a whopping $74.9 billion. This is an almost unimaginable figure to most people.
8) Since then, Masayoshi Son has turned around his fortunes as the value of both his company and his personal net worth have both risen. SoftBank is now Japan’s third largest Internet company and Son has a personal net worth of $22 million as he owns 22% of the company.
9) He is the second richest person in Japan and he is in 86th position in the list of the richest people in the world.
10) He lives in Tokyo in a three-story mansion that is valued at $50 million. It has many amazing features that are beyond the imagination of most people, including a golf range that has the technology to mimic the weather conditions and temperature of the world’s top golf courses. He has also bought a home near Silicon Valley in Woodside, California that cost him $117 million. He also owns Softbank Hawks, a professional Japanese baseball team.
Written by Garrett Parker
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