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SoftBank Group CEO Son gains more control after his stake climbs to over a third

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SoftBank Group Corp’s Chief Executive Masayoshi Son’s stake in the company has risen to 34% – a key threshold level that gives him more control. Son now owns 34.2% of the tech investment giant, up from 32.2% as of the end of September, the company said, declining further comment. A shareholder in a Japanese company with more than a one-third stake is able to block special resolutions brought by other investors at shareholder meetings. It was not immediately clear if Son had bought more shares or if the boost to his stake was the result of aggressive stock buybacks. Bloomberg, which first reported the news, said the increase in Son’s stake has taken him closer to the point where he could mount an effort to take the conglomerate private. SoftBank has considered going private, sources have previously told Reuters. Son has often complained about investors valuing the company well below the combined market value of its investment portfolio which includes a 14.6% stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd . Shares in SoftBank were up 2.3% in afternoon trade, outperforming a 0.5% drop for the Nikkei average. Hit hard by steep share price declines for its portfolio companies and a regulatory crackdown by Beijing on Chinese tech companies, SoftBank has launched a series of large buybacks. It announced a buyback of up to 400 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in August which followed its November 2021 buyback announcement of up to 1 trillion yen or almost 15% of its shares. It completed a 2.5 trillion yen buyback in May 2021. Although SoftBank last month logged its first profit in three quarters, its massive Vision Fund, which upended the world of technology with its big bets on startups, posted another heavy quarterly loss. ($1 = 137.0000 yen) (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Mayu Sakoda in Tokyo and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Edwina Gibbs)

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