Masayoshi Son (孫 正義, August 11, 1957, Tosu, Japan) is a Japanese entrepreneur of Korean origin, founder and CEO of SoftBank, chairman of the board of directors of the telecommunications company Sprint, and a billionaire.
In 2017, Forbes ranks 1st among Japanese billionaires with a fortune of $ 20.4 billion.
Born in Japan to a Korean family. In 1974 he moved with his family to San Francisco, where he graduated from high school.
As a student, at the age of 19 he invented an electronic translator, a patent for which he sold to Sharp for $ 1 million.
In 1980 he received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and returned to Japan a year later.
In January 1982 he founded Softbank, a software manufacturing and distribution company. Three years after the founding of the company, he was seriously ill with hepatitis. Since the mid-1980s, Softbank has become the leading distributor of software in Japan, although this business is no longer its main focus.
Received Japanese citizenship in 1990. He is married with two children.
In 1994, Softbank sold $ 140 million worth of shares in an IPO. The stage of big purchases began, mainly in the United States, where the Internet was developing rapidly and the shares of related companies were growing rapidly. Softbank acquired the Comdex computer exhibition for $ 803 million, the Ziff-Davis publishing house, which specialized in the production of computer periodicals, for $ 3.1 billion, 80% of the shares of the computer memory manufacturer Kingston Technology for $ 1.2 billion.
In 1995, a venture division, Softbank Technology Ventures, appeared in the company, its task was to find promising high-tech companies in need of investment. In November 1995, Softbank acquired Yahoo! by $ 2 million, in March 1996 - another 33% of the shares of Yahoo! for $ 105 million, later invested another $ 250 million. The rise in Yahoo! after listing them on the stock exchange in April 1996, made Sona a billionaire. In the first year of its existence, Softbank Technology Ventures invested in 55 companies, the investment strategy is investing in as many companies as possible at the early stages of their development, then increasing investments in the most promising of them. Subsequently, Softbank received a stake in several hundred Internet companies, including E-Trade, E-Loan, Morningstar, Buy.Com, GeoCities and others.
In 1996, Yahoo! and Softbank set up a joint venture in Japan, Yahoo! Japan, which has become the most popular Internet portal in the country and began to make a profit in the second month of its operation.
At the peak of the stock exchange boom of Internet companies, Softbank's capitalization was $ 180 billion, and Son's share was estimated at $ 78 billion. As the bubble deflated, Softbank's capitalization fell to $ 21 billion, and Son's fortune dropped to $ 6 billion. Masayoshi Son is considered the person who lost the most personal wealth in history.
After the dot-com crash, Softbank had 600 stocks in its portfolio, and he planned to continue investing with no doubts about the great future of the Internet.
Dream with Yahoo! Japan established Yahoo! BB, which acquired Japan Telecom, Japan's third broadband Internet operator renamed SoftBank Telecom.
In March 2006, Softbank bought its Japanese mobile operator from Vodafone for $ 15 billion, which was renamed Softbank Mobile. In April 2015 SoftBank Telecom was merged with Softbank Mobile.
In 2013, SoftBank bought a 78% stake in Sprint for $ 22.2 billion, and Masayoshi Son took over as chairman of Sprint's board of directors.
In 2011, Masayoshi Son pledged to donate $ 120 million and his pre-retirement salary to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck that year.
May 6, 2021 Bloomberg estimated his fortune at $ 35,000 million