Japanese firm SoftBank is set to invest $50 billion in the United States, and according to President-elect Donald Trump, it would have not been possible if it weren’t for his victory.
In an announcement made with SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son on Tuesday in Trump Tower, Trump said the investment is expected to generate around 50,000 new jobs for Americans. He would later announce it again on Twitter, claiming full credit for the agreement.
Analyst Roger Entner from Recon Analytics countered Trump’s claim for the credit, saying that with or without him, the $50 billion may have already been destined for U.S. technology companies anyway, The Washington Post
“I think it’s making hay out of something that was there already,” Entner was quoted as saying. “In all likelihood, this comes out of the $100 billion fund. Considering the extremely large part that the U.S. has in the high-tech economy, [Son] would have probably invested something in the neighborhood anyway.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal
, Son did confirm that the money would come from a $100 billion joint investment fund by SoftBank, the Saudi Arabian government, and other investors. As early as October, SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son has said in a statement, “Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector.”
Of the $100 billion mega-fund, SoftBank will be providing at least $25 billion in the next five years, while Saudi Arabia pledged to add up to $45 billion in the same period. Still-unidentified outside investors will be adding the remaining $30 billion.
A significant portion of the fund, Son told reporters on Tuesday, would be invested into American start-ups. He also showed some papers with a page showing that the investment would be made in the next four years.
Also noticeable in the paper is the logo of Foxconn, a major Apple supplier of iPhones made in Taiwan and China. Entner believes that the company may be providing the additional $7 billion in investment and the aforementioned 50,000 new jobs to be created.
“Seven billion [U.S. dollars] could mean that they’re going to build a factory or multiple factories in the U.S. to assemble phones. We don’t know that, but that would be the speculation,” says Entner.
It is important to note that Softbank owns around 80% of the telecom firm Sprint. Observers are looking into the possible connection in Son’s hopes of pursuing a merger with rival telecom carrier T-Mobile. In 2014, Sprint and SoftBank failed to purchase T-Mobile due to the violation of anti-trust laws in the U.S.
Son, who is a self-made billionaire, told reporters that he celebrated Trump’s victory “because he would do a lot of deregulation.” That “deregulation” may mean an improvement in chances of the merger. Or more, as another analyst pointed out.
“Maybe he sees there’s a different possibility for a Sprint and T-Mobile partnership. But that’s only one slice of the pie. I don’t think Masayoshi Son is that small of a thinker,” telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan was quoted as saying. “He sees opportunities, based on what we’ve all seen happen in the last few weeks. And he wants to be a player.”
Son founded SoftBank in 1981, and has since grown the company into a $68 billion telecommunications and tech investment giant with investments in several companies including Jack Ma’s Alibaba and UK mobile phone brand Vodafone.