SoftBank CEO Cozies Up to Trump

December 07, 2016
By: Paula Bernier

President-elect Donald Trump and SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son have a lot in common. They both built their own empires. They both have big personalities. And both men are now talking about investing in and creating jobs in the U.S.

In fact, just recently the billionaire founder of SoftBank met with Trump and expressed his interest in creating 50,000 new U.S. jobs by investing $50 billion in startup companies in the U.S. Trump, as is his way, took to Twitter (News - Alert) to spread the good news. The Donald also boasted, “Masa said he would never do this had we not won the election!”

Given Trump is a Republican and a businessman himself, some business leaders – including SoftBank’s Son and T-Mobile’s CFO Braxton Carter – seem to be optimistic that his administration will be looser with regulations and open the door for more mergers in telecom.

SoftBank took a major share in cellular network operator Sprint Corp. a few years ago. Since then SoftBank and Sprint have tried to get their hooks into T-Mobile (News - Alert) USA as well, but SoftBank ended up backing off of that effort in light of pushback from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. Quoted in a February 2014 piece in The Wall Street Journal, Sprint (News - Alert) Chairman Son commented that he “can’t settle with No. 3 or No. 2. It’s my personality.” The piece went on to say sources close to Son indicated he is likely to explore “all possibilities” to vault Sprint into the No. 1 carrier position.

Son has recently been talking about his 300-year plan for SoftBank. You read that right: 300 years. And earlier this year SoftBank announced its $100 billion technology fund, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is also involved. But Son hadn’t previously committed a set investment or discussed job creation in the U.S. relative to that effort – that is, until his recent meeting with Trump.




Edited by Alicia Young