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The SoftBank Effect: How $100 Billion Left Workers in a Hole

For five years, Sunil Solankey, a retired captain in the Indian Army, had run the 20-room Four Sight Hotel in a New Delhi suburb. Business was steady, but he longed to make the establishment a destination for lucrative business travelers. Last year, a hospitality start-up called Oyo told Mr. Solankey that it would turn the Four Sight into a flagship hotel for corporate customers. It guaranteed him monthly payments whether the rooms were booked or not, as long as he rebranded the property with Oyo’s name and sold the rooms exclusively through its site. At Oyo’s request, Mr. Solankey sank 600,000 rupees, or $8,400, into reupholstering the…

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Awaiting Layoffs, WeWork Employees Seek a ‘Seat at the Table’

In the latest sign of worker activism in tech companies and start-ups, a group of employees at the struggling office-space giant WeWork are calling on management to treat workers humanely as the company prepares to lay off thousands, and to give workers a say in corporate decisions and policies.Alluding to the controversies that have dogged the company and its co-founder Adam Neumann, the workers said in a letter to management that they were seeking to restore values they say top executives disregarded. Under an exit package worth around $1 billion, Mr. Neumann agreed last month to give up control of WeWork.“We don’t want to be defined by…

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SoftBank Takes a $4.6 Billion Hit From WeWork. Its C.E.O. Remains Defiant.

TOKYO — Masayoshi Son makes big bets. Over nearly four decades, the chief executive of SoftBank Group of Japan has spent vast amounts of money to build an investment empire that spans countries and industries and that has increasingly shaken up the technology world. On Wednesday, Mr. Son, 62, defended that legacy in the face of his biggest setback in years. SoftBank reported that it took a nearly $4.6 billion hit from its investment in WeWork, the troubled office-space company that has come to symbolize the excesses of start-up culture.“In the case of WeWork, I made a mistake,” he told investors at a news conference in Tokyo.…

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This Week in Business: Zuckerberg Gets Grilled, and Boeing Goes from Bad to Worse

Allow us to interrupt your candy corn munching to bring you the week’s top stories in business and tech, including more fallout at Boeing and Mark Zuckerberg’s awkward visit to Washington. What’s scarier: Facebook’s cryptocurrency project or finding out that the United States was using floppy disks to protect its nuclear arsenal up until this year? Happy Halloween. — Charlotte CowlesImageCredit...Till LauerWhat’s Up? (Oct. 20-26)Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to WashingtonAnd he did not get a warm welcome. If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on, it’s a dislike for Facebook. The company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was called to the House Financial Services Committee…

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The Week in Tech: Google’s Quantum Leap

Each week, we review the week’s news, offering analysis about the most important developments in the tech industry.Hi, I’m Jamie Condliffe. Greetings from London. Joining me this week is Nicole Perlroth, our cybersecurity reporter in San Francisco. Here’s a look at the week’s tech news:In a paper published in the journal Nature, Google researchers described how they had used a quantum computer to perform, in 200 seconds, a series of calculations that, they claimed, would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer at least 10,000 years to closely replicate. As our colleague Cade Metz wrote, this is the first example of what researchers have called “quantum supremacy” —…

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‘It’s Definitely Pretty Empty’: Why Saving WeWork Will Be Hard

Even as WeWork was scrambling to secure a financial bailout last week, Sebastian Gunningham, one of its co-chief executives, made time to oversee the opening of Dock 72, an immaculate shiplike building on the Brooklyn waterfront that houses one of the company’s newest shared working spaces.As Mr. Gunningham posed for a ribbon cutting with the building’s owners and a local city councilman, WeWork’s expansive offices loomed over them — an embodiment of how the company overextended itself and now must try to make money after nearly burying itself in losses.WeWork’s 220,000 square feet of space at Dock 72, about a third of the building, is far from…

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WeWork Accepts SoftBank Takeover Offer

WeWork, the troubled shared office space company, has agreed to be taken over by its largest outside investor, SoftBank, the Japanese technology giant, according to people with knowledge of the matter.The deal ends weeks of uncertainty at WeWork, a once fast-growing business that scrapped an initial public offering last month after Wall Street investors balked at its huge losses and unusual corporate governance structure. SoftBank, which had invested about $10.5 billion in WeWork, will now have to pour billions more into the company, cut costs and stabilize the business.This is a developing story and will be updated.

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SoftBank Bet Big on Disruptive Companies. Many Have Not Paid Off.

Anyone who has taken an Uber, sent a Slack message or enjoyed a free beer at a WeWork owes a little something to Masayoshi Son.Through his Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and a $100 billion investment fund, Mr. Son plowed huge sums into these and other companies that aim to change how people work, travel and live. His investments enabled the young companies to throw caution to the wind and run up big losses as they expanded at a breakneck pace in recent years. Even in the start-up world, where idealism is abundant and losses are a badge of honor, Mr. Son’s approach and ambition stood out.His early bet…

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U.S. Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger, a Deal That Would Reshape the Industry

The Justice Department on Friday approved the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-largest wireless companies in the United States, saying its antitrust concerns had been addressed and giving its blessing to a deal that would reshape the nation’s wireless industry.Critics of the merger have said it would reduce competition by lowering the number of wireless carriers from four to three, resulting in higher cellphone bills. On Friday, those critics, a group that includes attorneys general from several states and Democratic presidential candidates, continued to voice their objections to the deal, saying the combination would harm consumers.Until recently, the Justice Department shared those concerns. In…

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SoftBank Unveils New Tech Fund to Expand Its Sprawling Portfolio

Few can resist the allure of a sequel. Not even, it seems, in the investing world.SoftBank announced on Friday that it was planning to create Vision Fund 2, a follow-up to the Japanese conglomerate’s $100 billion vehicle for investing in the technologies that it believes will shape the future.Since it started in 2017, the first Vision Fund has placed bets on some the biggest rising names in tech, including Uber, WeWork, Slack and Bytedance, the Chinese owner of the video app TikTok.SoftBank’s aggressive approach, which often involves offering start-ups outsize funding and demanding grandiose, ambitious ideas in return, has helped upend the venture capital market, and has…

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