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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

SoftBank PLEDGES to INVEST $50 Billion in U.S. After Meeting With Trump

President-elect met with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son in Trump Tower


SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said Tuesday he would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs, following a 45-minute private meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.
The Japanese billionaire, whose conglomerate controls Sprint Corp., announced his investment plans in the lobby of Trump Tower, though he didn’t provide details. Mr. Trump took credit for the investment, saying his November victory spurred SoftBank’s decision.
In an interview, Mr. Son said the money will be coming from a $100 billion investment fund he is setting up with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund and other potential partners.
SoftBank has made investments in the U.S. in the past, including paying $22 billion for about 80% of Sprint in 2013. Last year, SoftBank also led a $1 billion investment round in San Francisco-based online lender Social Finance Inc.
Mr. Son’s initial plan was to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US Inc. to take on market leadersAT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., but he abandoned the effort after regulators signaled they would reject the plan. Some investors and analysts have said he could make another attempt after the election and when a new chairman is appointed to the Federal Communications Commission.
On Tuesday, Mr. Son declined to comment about his current interest in T-Mobile. Mr. Son said he had set up the meeting with Mr. Trump and that he likes him “very much.”
Mr. Son, 59 years old, is known as an ambitious investor and has a long history of betting on tech and telecom ventures. Most recently, SoftBank bought U.K. chip designer ARM Holdings PLC for $32 billion.
Mr. Son also has a history of going straight to national leaders to talk business. In September he met South Korean President Park Geun-hye and said he intends to invest around five trillion won ($4.5 billion) in the country’s technology sector. He has also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pledged to spend billions on the nation’s tech startups and renewable energy projects.
With the new $100 billion fund—dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund—Mr. Son plans to spend heavily in fields including the so-called Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, deep learning and robotics. He has said he wants to become the Warren Buffett of the tech industry.
SoftBank plans to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years in the fund, while Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund may contribute an additional $45 billion over the same period as the fund’s lead partner.

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