SoftBank Chief Says He Wants Stake in Uber or Lyft

08 August, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • SoftBank has not released a forecast for the current business year ending March saying there are too many uncertain factors

SoftBank also has a foothold in the USA market through its wireless unit Sprint Corp, which last week reported a quarterly profit for the first time in three years as a results of cost cutting efforts.

Recent investments include US online lender Kabbage, which recently disclosed a $250 million investment from SoftBank.

SoftBank is already a lead financier for several Uber rivals, including China's Didi Chuxing, Ola in India, Grab, the dominant player in Southeast Asia, and Brazil's 99.

The Japanese firms ambitious boss Masayoshi Son told analysts and reporters that it was interested in such an investment, or in Uber's rival in the US, Lyft, but no decision has yet been made.

The idea of a merger was ruled out by USA regulators in 2014 under the Obama administration but with the new Trump administration in place, preliminary discussions began again earlier this year. Reports indicate, however, that SoftBank may do business at a lower valuation, and involve secondary share sales.

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Vision Fund, backed by investors including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Apple and Foxconn, has raised more than $93 billion.

For all that talk it doesn't appear that any kind of deal is on the table right now.

"When the world goes to 5G, Sprint's spectrum will be extremely valuable, " Mr. Son said.

Son said autonomous driving and ride-hailing technologies make it even more critical for SoftBank to push into the industry: "The autonomous vehicle is definitely coming". In the year-earlier quarter, the company reported a profit surge due to its sale of a portion of its Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. stock.

"This is the shared economy and one of the most important industries, I think the way people use the transportation and the lifestyle will be different from today [compared to in] 30 years [or] 50 years", he explained.

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