Japan’s SoftBank Might be Interested in Buying Twitter

Twitter logoEmbattled social media giant Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is up 1% today thus far, on speculation that Japanese tech giant SoftBank could possibly make an acquisition bid.

At first glance, SoftBank wouldn’t appear to be a likely suitor. Its headquarters being in Japan creates obvious geographical and cultural issues, and the company’s focus on telecom isn’t a great fit for Twitter.

However, SoftBank just recently partnered with Saudi Arabia to create a $25 billion tech fund, which can grow to $100 billion over the next five years. SoftBank also has a big recent history of major tech investments. From the WSJ:

SoftBank, led by chief executive Masayoshi Son, is known for its bold and wide-ranging bets, ranging from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp. to U.K. chip designer ARM Holdings PLC, which it bought last month for $32 billion. On Friday, it announced plans to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years through a fund dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund may contribute an additional $45 billion over the next five years as the fund’s lead partner, SoftBank said. SoftBank said in a statement that the company was in talks with “a few large global investors” who could eventually push the new fund up to $100 billion to become the world’s “biggest investor” in technology over the next decade.

Twitter is also hugely popular in Japan. In fact, Twitter has more daily active users in the country than Facebook, according to data from earlier this year.

With SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son reportedly very interested in the social media space, and Twitter very publicly putting itself up for sale, it just might be the right fit at the right time. And given the fact that so many bidders have reportedly dropped out of the race, Twitter may not have much of a choice.


Twitter shares rose $0.04 (+0.22%) to $17.83 in Friday morning trading. Year-to-date, TWTR has fallen 22.3%.