SoftBank's Son commits to $50B US investment - Mobile World Live

SoftBank’s Son commits to $50B US investment

07 DEC 2016

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son pledged to invest $50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the US, where he controls operator Sprint, following a meeting with President elect Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal said Son held a 45 minute meeting with Trump and announced his plans in the lobby of Trump Tower, stating the investment would focus on start-ups.

In an interview with the publication, Son explained the funds would come from a planned $100 billion investment he established earlier this year with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and other potential partners.

He is also reportedly targeting acquisitions as large as $30 billion, added WSJ.

Son’s SoftBank has notably talked up its US investment plans in the past.

When going through the motions to seal the deal for Sprint back in 2013 for $22 billion, the company said the deal “will have an enormous positive effect on the US economy”, creating job opportunities for US workers.

However, Sprint has struggled since falling under SoftBank’s ownership.

It was overtaken by main rival T-Mobile US last year as the country’s third largest player behind AT&T and Verizon, while there have also been questions about its network, which is subject to huge investment.

Last year, it was reported that Son floated the idea of selling the operator, but talks with potential suitors fell flat.

Son appears to have been thwarted by the failure to merge Sprint with Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile US, and so be better equipped to take on the two market leaders, because of long-running regulatory opposition to the deal.

It is thought this was his plan all along when taking the decision to buy Sprint three years ago.

With a new administration set to take the reins, and an indication that Son is building a close relationship with the incoming president, there are suggestions that he could yet make another attempt to merge the two operators.

On Twitter, Trump boasted that Son’s investment commitment was a direct result of his election victory.

“Masa (Son) said he would never do this had we not won the election,” he said.

Foxconn, a major supplier of Apple, said it is also in preliminary discussions to expand its US operations.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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