SoftBank chief aims to create 'world's No.1 company'

June 21, 2013
A pedestrian walks past a Softbank logo on display in Tokyo, on June 21, 2013. The flamboyant founder of SoftBank—which is close to a $21.6 billion takeover of US firm Sprint Nextel—has said he wants to create the world's biggest company.

The flamboyant founder of Japanese telco SoftBank, which is close to a $21.6 billion takeover of US firm Sprint Nextel, on Friday added a new goal to his lofty agenda: creating the world's biggest company.

Masayoshi Son told 's upbeat annual meeting that he is aiming to turn what is now Japan's third-largest into a global behemoth that outpaces the likes of ExxonMobil, JPMorgan and Apple.

"We will become the world's number-one company at any cost—in terms of profit, cashflows and ," the 55-year-old telecom billionaire said, pointing to a slide presentation that listed the world's most valuable firms.

SoftBank, largely unknown outside Japan before the Sprint deal was announced last year, is nowhere near that level at present, standing at a paltry 113th in the world, according to Son's PowerPoint charts.

"I used to discreetly say we would be among the world's top 10 firms, but that doesn't fit my goals anymore," he told shareholders who responded with chuckles and applause.

"When I promised to create a company with trillions of yen in sales, our employees were shocked and said I was crazy."

Softbank president Masayoshi Son speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, on April 30, 2013. Son has said he wants Softbank—which is close to a $21.6 billion takeover of US firm Sprint Nextel—to be the world's biggest company.

Son's comments come just days after US provider dropped plans to submit a revised bid for . That offer could have scuttled his play to swallow up nearly 80 percent of the US-based wireless carrier, whose shareholders will vote on the SoftBank offer next week.

"We have taken a big step toward completing the acquisition," Son said Friday.

The Sprint offer—which, if completed, could be the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese firm—is the latest in a string of deals that have marked the career of one of Japan's most colourful entrepreneurs.

By his telling, Son grew up poor in southern Japan, scrounging food from his neighbours to feed to the family's livestock.

In 1981, a year after returning from the United States where he studied at the University of California at Berkeley, Son founded SoftBank as a software wholesaler and publisher of computer magazines.

He is now one of Japan's richest men, worth an estimated $7.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Explore further: Softbank says its bid for Sprint Nextel superior

Related Stories

Sprint to listen to Dish offer

May 21, 2013

Wireless company Sprint Nextel Corp. says it can now let Dish Network Corp. see its books and talk with Dish to see whether its competing offer to buy Sprint is better than its current deal with Japan's SoftBank.

Dish won't submit revised bid for Sprint

June 19, 2013

Satellite TV operator Dish Network Corp. said Tuesday it would not submit a revised bid for Sprint, leaving the path open for the wireless carrier to accept what it already considers a superior offer from Japan's Softbank.

Recommended for you

Robo-whiskers mimic animals exploring their surroundings

August 4, 2015

Many mammals, including seals and rats, rely on their whiskers to sense their way through dark environments. Inspired by these animals, scientists working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois' Advanced ...

Thunderstrike 2: Proof-of-concept worm could infect Macs

August 4, 2015

Two researchers, Xeno Kovah co-founder of LegbaCore and Trammell Hudson, a security engineer with Two Sigma Investments, have created a proof of concept worm capable of attacking Mac computers. The worm which they designed ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.