Ma’s exit is particularly noteworthy because of his closeness to SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son. Son invested $20 million in Alibaba in 2000, a bet that was worth $60 billion when Alibaba went public in 2014.
SoftBank did not explain the reasoning behind Ma’s departure. But the company has been taking dramatic measures to shore up its finances, including a plan to sell $41 billion in assets.
During the earnings presentation Monday, Son revealed that the company had secured $11.5 billion in funding by doing deals that allow SoftBank to sell Alibaba stock in the future.
SoftBank’s 25.1% stake in the company is currently worth more than $133 billion.
It’s been a tumultuous time for SoftBank. The sweeping, worldwide restrictions on work and travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic have walloped the company’s investment portfolio.
Some of Son’s major tech investments, meanwhile, faced rough receptions on Wall Street long before the outbreak. The losses that SoftBank reported Monday were in line with its own recent forecasts and driven almost entirely by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the $100 billion tech fund steered by Son.
“If the pandemic continues, the company expects that uncertainty in its investment businesses will remain over the next fiscal year,” SoftBank added.
Son is trying to right the ship. In March, the company made the surprise announcement that it would sell assets to buy back shares and reduce the company’s heavy debt load.