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Masayoshi Son, long known as a free-spending benefactor who encouraged startup founders to pursue their dreams even if it meant losing billions of dollars, had a different message for entrepreneurs last month: Your dreams had better be profitable.

The chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp. told company leaders gathered at the five-star Langham resort in Pasadena, California, that they need to become profitable soon and stressed the importance of good governance, according to a person who attended the event.

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