SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO:9984) Chairman and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son pledged he would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs. The announcement Tuesday followed a 45-minute private meeting with President-elect Donald J. Trump, whom he said he likes him “very much.”
The Japanese billionaire, whose conglomerate controls Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S), announced his investment plans in the lobby of Trump Tower, though he didn’t provide details. The New York businessman took credit for the investment, claiming his election on November 8 was the catalyst for SoftBank’s decision.
Mr. Son later clarified and backed up President-elect Trump’s claim, stating the company would not have agreed to the investment had Democrat Hillary Clinton won the presidential election.
Mr. Son, 59, first planned to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US Inc. in order to challenge the growing market share of leaders AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). However, regulators protecting special interest sent a message they would not allow the plan to move forward, even as AT&T expanded its empire. A new chairman will now be appointed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the Trump administration takes the reigns in January.
In an interview, Mr. Son said the money will be coming from a $100 billion investment fund and other partners, known as the SoftBank Vision Fund. He also uses those funds to invest in the so-called Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and robotics.
SoftBank also intends to invest at least $25 billion more over the next five years in the fund, while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could potentially contribute an additional $45 billion over the same period.