A curious thing seems to be happening. Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank (SFTBF) and majority owner of wireless carrier Sprint (S) , seems to be on a tear to acquire other US companies as well. Why? It sounds like he wants to create a new category in the wireless space, and become a real player in the US in a variety of industries.
Two years ago if you said the name Masayoshi Son, hardly anyone in the USA would have known what you were talking about. Today, the name alone is on everyone’s radar.
Masayoshi Son is quickly building a brand name in the US. We didn’t know this two years ago when we first heard the name, but he has become the wealthiest individual in Japan. So he must be doing quite a bit right.
In addition to that, he has his hands in quite a few different and very successful buckets. We just learned that Alibaba (BABA) is just one of them and that alone increased his value by billions of dollars when it went public a couple weeks ago.
DreamWorks (DWA) is next on his list. So what does this mean? Is he interested in Hollywood, or adding value and content to Sprint?
It’s impossible for any of us to know at this early stage. However from what I have seen so far, I would say we should expect both.
If we recall what Masayoshi Son has been talking about during the last year or two, it’s reinvention. It started with reinvention in the wireless space, but is not limited to wireless.
It could mean acquiring other companies in other industry segments and having them all play together in unique and valuable ways.
DreamWorks could play a role in Son’s new industry direction.
In addition to that, companies like DreamWorks will continue doing what they currently do, so Son could be stepping into the Hollywood space as well.
We didn’t have that in mind when he was purchasing Sprint, but now, in retrospect, it certainly makes sense.
Remember, we have had a wireless industry since roughly 1980. But it’s only been in the last seven years or so since the Apple (AAPL) iPhone and Google (GOOG) Android hit the market and changed the industry. It’s only been in a few short years since the app market has grown from a few hundred to well over a million.
So we are still only in the very early stages of this new wireless, smartphone revolution. It is still in the first inning. There will be plenty of new ideas and changes in the marketplace.
And it looks like Son wants to play a major role in that industry-wide growth and transformation.
It’s impossible to predict exactly what this will look like a few years from today. It largely depends on what Son is allowed to acquire. Remember, this entire smartphone sector is only a few short years old.
However, even though he is Japanese, there is something so, well, American about Masayoshi Son. He has that unique and special creative entrepreneurial spirit that America was built on.
It looks like starting with Sprint as a wireless network, Son wants to continue to expand both in the wireless industry, but also in other industries as well. And those other industries will both help Sprint grow, and grow on their own.
So will everything Masayoshi Son touches work? Well I have never seen any individual get every move right. However I do get the sense that Son will build something big and different. These are his goals based on speeches during the last year or two.
I would say based on what we have seen so far, he won’t hit a home run with every swing, but it doesn’t make sense to bet against him either. I would say he is committed to being successful in the US market and based on that he will be.
In addition, we seem to be very early in Son’s acquisition spree. So expect to see many more companies to follow as he builds and grows.
Keep your eyes on Son. We are very early in his new game. Batter up!
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