- Japanese investment giant SoftBank is under investigation by the SEC, Vice News reported Wednesday.
- The SEC disclosed its investigation in response to a public records request, according to legal group PlainSite.
- SoftBank made risky multibillion-dollar bets last year hoping to boost the value of its investments.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Japanese investing conglomerate SoftBank, which has holdings in household names like Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Uber, DoorDash, and Sprint, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Vice News reported Wednesday.
The agency’s acknowledgment of its investigation follows reporting by the Financial Times last year that revealed SB Northstar, which is controlled by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, as the “Nasdaq whale” behind secretive, risky multibillion-dollar bets on tech stocks during last summer’s market rally.
The SEC disclosed the investigation in response to a public records request from Think Computer Foundation founder Aaron Greenspan, according to the legal transparency group PlainSite.
Greenspan had asked for “any investigative materials” about SoftBank or its web of companies “specifically relating to SoftBank’s trading of stocks and derivatives on those stocks,” according to PlainSite. After initially denying that it had any relevant records, the SEC responded to Greenspan’s appeal by saying that it had records, but couldn’t share them, because “the investigation from which you seek records is active and ongoing.”
SoftBank and the SEC did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
SoftBank faced intense pressure from its major shareholders to unwind its risky options positions after SB Northstar posted $3.7 billion in losses in November, which included $2.7 billion in derivatives losses, the Financial Times reported in November. SoftBank eventually relented to that pressure.