SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son: to invest in Indian e-commerce and electronics

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son is considering India as their top most priority market and ready to bring big investments to India.

SoftBank CEO, who is also Japan’s richest businessman, today met India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Some media reports said SoftBank would invest $10 billion in India’s e-commerce and electronics industries.

Son became the richest man in Japan following the IPO of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant valued at about $168 billion. SoftBank’s 34.4 percent stake in Alibaba is worth $57.8 billion.

A recent Bloomberg news report on Masayoshi Son said the 56-year-old created a venture capital goliath with investments in more than 1,300 technology businesses. They include Yahoo Japan, the nation’s biggest Web portal, Zynga, creator of smartphone gaming hits FarmVille and Mafia Wars; and GungHo Online Entertainment, maker of the Puzzle & Dragons game.

SoftBank has stakes in Cheezburger Network, a collection of humor websites, and Buzzfeed, an online portal.

SoftBank had interest bearing debt of about $90 billion as of March 31. The Bloomberg report said Son has financed his empire with borrowed money — including his $22 billion bid for Sprint and $15 billion deal for Vodafone Group Plc’s Japanese unit in 2006. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s last July cut SoftBank’s rating to junk.

SoftBank CEO in India

Telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a tweet said: “SoftBank CEO told me that India is their top most priority and they want to bring big investments to India.”

“SoftBank and Japan’s richest businessman shared his optimism about investing in India in e-commerce and electronics,” Prasad added.

Additional details are not available.

SoftBank owns majority equity stake in Sprint, a telecom service provider in the U.S. and currently revolutionizing the American wireless market competing with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US. Son’s biggest bet so far was last year’s $22 billion deal for control of Sprint, which gave SoftBank access to about 50 million U.S. subscribers. After the Sprint deal, Son last December sought about $20 billion in bank loans to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’ s 67 percent stake in T-Mobile. But the deal did not take off due to regulatory issues.

Baburajan K
[email protected]