To their credit, both CEOs have been candid and contrite about some of their investing mishaps.
For his part, Son said during an earnings conference call this week that SoftBank’s investment in WeWork was a failure. He even went as far to say that he was “foolish” and “made the wrong decision.”
Son added that there could be more pain ahead for SoftBank investments in its flagship Vision Fund, predicting that 15 out of its 88 current holdings could go bankrupt. While he didn’t name specific firms, he did say most of SottBank’s more troubled investments are relatively small.
Buffett and Son lagging the market over the past few years
The investing misfortunes of Buffett and Son are one reason why the shares of their own companies have languished lately.
Neither Alibaba nor Apple is an undiscovered gem. Those companies are among the most valuable in the world and are top positions in many passive global index exchange-traded funds and actively managed mutual funds and hedge funds.
SoftBank certainly deserves credit for first investing $20 million in Alibaba in 2000. That stake is now worth more than $140 billion.
Buffett, who typically shuns tech stocks, didn’t invest in Apple until 2016, but he’s made a killing on it. His initial $1 billion investment is now worth about $78 billion, which includes not just market returns but Berkshire’s steady additions to its stake over the past four years.
It just goes to show that Son and Buffett — both being multi-billionaires — can make the same market mistakes as the rest of us. And their occasional stock picking failures are probably all the more reason why most investors should just stick to ETFs.
CNN’s Sherisse Pham contributed to this story.