SoftBank Splits Responsibility for Japan, Global Operations

  • Group President Nikesh Arora to lead businesses abroad
  • Billionaire Masayoshi Son to remain group CEO and chairman

SoftBank Group Corp. plans to divide its Japanese and overseas operations, splitting the responsibility for managing some 9.2 trillion yen ($81 billion) of investments spanning the broadband and mobile industries and a stake in China’s largest Internet-shopping service.

Group President Nikesh Arora will head up operations abroad, which includes stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Sprint Corp., the Tokyo-based company said in a statement on Monday. Ken Miyauchi, who heads SoftBank’s mobile operations in Japan, will lead all domestic businesses including its investment in Yahoo Japan Corp.

Billionaire Masayoshi Son, who remains group chairman and chief executive officer, has entrusted Arora with overseeing global expansion and the turnaround of loss-making Sprint. Former Google executive Arora plans to invest about $3 billion each year as SoftBank backs startups that can become the next Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company that pulled off the world’s largest initial public offering in 2014.

“This makes perfect sense, considering how large SoftBank’s overseas holdings have gotten,” said Toshihiro Uomoto, the chief credit strategist in Tokyo at Nomura Holdings Inc. “This may speed things up at SoftBank, allowing domestic and overseas operations to race against each other.”

As of March 7, SoftBank’s domestic holdings -- including Yahoo Japan and Gungho Online Entertainment Inc. -- were worth close to 1.2 trillion yen. Its international investments, spanning Alibaba, Sprint and China’s Renren Inc. -- were valued at about 8 trillion yen as of Friday, according to its website.

SoftBank shares closed 1.8 percent lower at 5,754 yen on Monday before the announcement. The stock is down 6.3 percent this year, compared with an 11 percent drop in the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

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