March 19, 2020 / 6:31 AM / in 14 days

SoftBank shares close down 17% in biggest one-day fall

FILE PHOTO: People walk behind the logo of SoftBank Corp in Tokyo December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares of SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) closed down 17% on Thursday in their biggest one-day fall, hammered by investor scepticism over the outlook for tech bets, such as office sharing firm WeWork and ridehailer Uber (UBER.N).

As economic gloom grows over a coronavirus outbreak, SoftBank racked up the second biggest fall in the benchmark index .N225, breaking the 3,000-yen level to close at 2,687 yen.

The one-day fall is greater than during the bursting of the dot-com bubble, which evaporated most of Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son’s wealth, as his plans to build a tech investing empire via the $100 billion Vision Fund stutter.

Uber’s shares closed down 22% overnight as people around the world stay home to try and slow the spread of the virus.

SoftBank is considering pulling out of a $3 billion tender offer for WeWork, sources said. The startup has taken long property leases but is exposed to customers pulling out of short co-working contracts as the economy deteriorates.

“WeWork is very likely finished as a viable business,” analyst Kirk Boodry wrote in a note on the Smartkarma platform, adding that “Softbank faces a third straight quarter of losses for Vision Fund.”

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Anil D'Silva

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