Man who was 'richer than Bill Gates for three days' recalls what it felt like to lose $70 billion

Callum Jones

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Man who was 'richer than Bill Gates for three days' recalls what it felt like to lose $70 billion

Featured Image Credit: The David Rubenstein Show/dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Imagine what it must feel like to go from being richer than Bill Gates to close to bankruptcy in such a short space of time.

Well, this one man went just through that, and he explained how it all went down.

Masayoshi Son, Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank said he 'somehow survived' after facing major financial difficulties.

He invested a lot in the internet space at the turn of the 21st century, but then the market declined with a huge tech crash.

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As a result, Son personally lost $70 billion of net worth, the greatest lost any human being has suffered financially.

Speaking with David Rubenstein for Bloomberg in 2017, Son explained: "Before that my personal net worth was increasing by $10 billion by per week," at which a few amazed laughs emerged from the audience.

"Then I became richer than Bill Gates.

"Before I talked to anyone else, our stock started crashing. So, six months after that our share price went down 99 percent.

"We almost went bankrupt and somehow I survived."

That's certainly something to tell the grandkids.

Masayoshi Son was richer than Bill Gates for three days. Credit: David Rubenstein/ YouTube
Masayoshi Son was richer than Bill Gates for three days. Credit: David Rubenstein/ YouTube

After he nearly went bankrupt, Son invested in well-known companies that were at less of a risk, such as Vodafone's mobile telephone business in Japan.

He continued: "That time I said now is the time to go next stage, which is the internet will become mobile internet.

"So, I had to go get the license of the government for the Spectrum or acquire Vodafone Japan."

Son then spoke on how he needed $20 billion to acquire Vodafone Japan but he only had $2 billion in his bank account due to his massive losses.

Rubenstein then asked: "So, how did you get the money."

Masayoshi Son went on to purchase Vodafone Japan with a little help from a friend. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Masayoshi Son went on to purchase Vodafone Japan with a little help from a friend. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Son replied: "I convinced the bank that I can turn around Vodafone Japan and it will become successful with great cash flow.

"They believed me and lent me money."

Since the mega losses at the turn of the century, Son revitalised his career by making big acquisitions such as the London based company ARM for £24 billion in 2016.

However, in recent months he has faced criticism for the way he conducts his business practices, especially at Vision Fund, Softbank Group's investment vehicle.

Speaking in August, Son said he was 'embarrassed' and 'ashamed' when pressed on talking about the way he ran the business.

Topics: Technology, Bill Gates, Money

Callum Jones
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