Tuesday 10 December 2019 8:43 am

Another dog for Softbank as it sells Wag stake back to company

Japanese investment giant Softbank has been left with its tail between its legs after selling its stake in Wag back to the dog-walking startup, capping off a disappointing year for its $97bn Vision Fund.

Softbank has agreed to sell its almost 50 per cent stake in the company and will no longer have representation on its board, Wag chief executive Garrett Smallwood said in a memo to employees.

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Smallwood said Wag was “amicably parting ways with Softbank”, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale.

Wag, which let go several dozen employees earlier this year, is laying off a significant proportion of its remaining workforce, the paper reported.

“Today, we said goodbye to a number of our friends and colleagues as we align our organization with the needs of our business,” Smallwood said in the memo.

Wag’s app offers on-demand dog-walking services in the US via a network of tens of thousands of dog walkers.

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The price at which Softbank is exiting the startup has not been disclosed, but it is understood to be well below the roughly $650m valuation at which the Japanese conglomerate invested $300m last year.

The Wag investment is the latest disappointment for Softbank’s following the botched attempt to float of one of its highest-profile investments, office space company Wework.