Softbank Could Be Prepping To Buy Sprint

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From Brad Hoppmann: He’s way richer than Donald Trump. In fact, he’s the richest man in Japan. I’m referring here to SoftBank Group Corp. founder and chief executive officer Masayoshi Son.

The 59-year-old “Masa,” as he is known, is said to be worth about $17 billion, according to Forbes. That’s more than four-and-a-half times the Forbes estimate of the $3.7 billion net worth for the president-elect.

On Tuesday, the Japanese captain of industry paid a visit to what’s become a kind of “White House North,” as Masa went to Trump Tower. Shortly after the high-profile visit, Trump came down to the gold-adorned lobby of his landmark hotel, and announced the following:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Masa from Japan. He’s just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs. He’s one of the great men of industry, so I just want to thank you very much.”

That remark was followed by the SoftBank CEO, who told the press why he had come to see the president-elect:

“I just came to celebrate his new job. I said, ‘This is great, the U.S. will become great again.’”

At least Masa plans to put his money where his mouth is. Softbank has said it plans to put that $50 billion investment toward start-up companies, which will presumably include acquisitions and investments in tech companies.

Not surprisingly, President-elect Trump took to his favorite social media outlet, Twitter (TWTR), to take credit for the Masa move.

Per the Trump tweet:

“Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!”

I suspect that Mr. Trump is correct in terms of the timing and display of showmanship in the Masa visit accompanying the $50 billion investment plans.

But there’s no doubt that the astute SoftBank executive is always on the hunt for places to put capital to work.

Yet this could be a positive harbinger of very good things to come … if a Trump administration can create an atmosphere where capitalists around the globe want to come and invest in America.

Already there’s been rumblings of other high-profile companies that want to set up shop in the U.S.

The latest is Taiwan’s Foxconn, which recently confirmed it was in preliminary discussions about a potential U.S. investment. Foxconn is a major supplier to personal tech giant Apple (AAPL).

Then there are the companies that had planned to leave the U.S. with some of their production. But they have since rethought those plans at the behest of President-elect Trump.

United Technologies’ (UTX) Carrier division, and Ford Motor (F) are two high-profile corporate giants that have decided to remain here at home on the not-so-subtle insistence of candidate, and now President-elect, Trump.

As for Masa and the SoftBank plans to invest $50 billion in the U.S., well, there is perhaps another, more cynical, reason behind the move.

You see, SoftBank has a controlling interest in wireless telecom firm Sprint (S). Recall that Sprint failed to win approval from the Obama administration for its plans to consolidate the mobile phone market.

If a Trump administration can be more-accommodative to those consolidation plans, then Masa certainly wouldn’t mind.

That’s certainly the way the Japanese stock traders see it, as SoftBank shares surged more than 5% on the news. Here at home, Sprint shares were up about 8.3% in midday Wednesday trade.

So, are there ulterior motives for the Masa move?

Of course. That’s what smart billionaires do.

And, if conditions are right, more moves like Masa’s could help more billionaires — and more investors — in the months and years to come.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Uncommon Wisdom Daily.