Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Softbank makes a call for rides with Uber and Lyft

Softbank makes a call for rides with Uber and Lyft

However, sources have told ET that the investment committee of the Vision Fund was expected to discuss the anticipated investment only later this month.

It's unusual for an investor to publicly mull a major investment like this, and it's possible his comments might be a bargaining tactic to pressure Uber into making a deal.

Underscoring the notion that is becoming more of an investor, the Tokyo-based company reported losses on derivatives of 257 billion yen, which pushed net income to 5.5 billion yen, well below estimates. It was absent from Lyft's latest funding round that raised $600 million in April. Since then, Alibaba's stock has climbed more than 80 per cent, forcing to recognise the difference.

Japanese tech giant SoftBank wants a piece of the US ride sharing market. The Japanese wireless operator has a market value of about 9.9 trillion yen, while its public shareholdings are worth 17.1 trillion yen. Now, it's clear that the Japanese billionaire wants to push into the United States market one way or another.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he is interested in investing in Uber, but added that Uber's biggest USA rival also has potential. "We have not decided which way".

Mr Son, who founded the company in 1981, described the U.S. as "the most important market".

"We are definitely very much interested in the United States market".

Mr Son also said negotiations between Sprint, its U.S. wireless arm, and "multiple" sector rivals were ongoing, although he refrained from providing further comment beyond reiterating his expectations for a deal to be done "in the near future".

The fourth-biggest USA wireless carrier by subscribers is exploring options to boost finances and better compete, through means such as merging with T-Mobile US Inc as well as a tie-up with cable provider Charter Communications Inc.

Last week, Charter said it isn't interested in buying Sprint.

"When the world goes to 5G, Sprint's spectrum will be extremely valuable, " Mr. Son said. "The negotiations are proceeding apace and we should be able to arrive at a decision soon". And when that stage comes, this ride sharing business be comes even more important.

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