In 2010, Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of Softbank Corp., laid out a plan for the next 300 years. For a start, he would invest in 5,000 companies by 2040, giving his unborn successors a base to build on.
Son’s ambitions have made him Japan’s second-richest man, with a fortune estimated at $7.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has taken stakes in Yahoo Inc., Alibaba Group and Zynga Inc., and in his biggest deal bought Vodafone Group Plc’s mobile-phone business in Japan in 2006. He is now aiming to expand in the U.S. and is in talks to take a controlling stake in Sprint Nextel Corp.