Masayoshi Son is a Korean-Japanese multibillionaire technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist who was born on August 11th, 1957. He became a Japanese citizen in 1990 and is a third-generation “Zainichi Korean.” He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Japanese holding corporation SoftBank, the CEO of SoftBank Mobile, and the chairman of Arm Holdings, a company located in the UK.
Hundreds of investments have been made by Son since he formed SoftBank in 1981, but the great majority of them have failed, and his reputation as an investor is virtually entirely based on his $20 million shares in Alibaba Group in 2000, which was worth $130 billion in 2018. Son was the second richest man in Japan and the 68th richest person in the world as of October 2021, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, despite holding the distinction of having lost the greatest money in history (about $70 billion during the dot com crisis of 2000).
According to Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people, Son is the 45th most powerful person in the world. Son is ranked 74th on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires as of May 2022.
Masayoshi Son Bio/Wiki
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Early life and Education
Masayoshi Son was born in Tosu, a city in the eastern region of Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan, as the second of four boys. Son is a third-generation Korean Zainichi. Ethnic Koreans holding citizenship or permanent residency in Japan are known as Zainichi Koreans.
Son Jong-Kyung, the great-grandfather of Son, relocated from Daegu to Japan at the time when that country was a colony, where he worked as a miner. Son Sam-heon is his father. Son’s family immigrated from China and lived in Korea for 21 generations before moving on to Japan with his grandparents.
His father and other Koreans had difficulties with the law since they had erected their homes on the property that belonged to Japan National Railways. On that property, his father had a pig and poultry farm as well as an illicit sake business that finally prospered enough for his family to become the first residents of the community to purchase a car.
So that Son could attend a better school, his family ultimately left the area. Son pursued his business ambitions by arranging a meeting with Den Fujita, president of McDonald’s in Japan. Son followed his advice and started learning computer science and English. Den Fujita advised him to go study in the United States, so he did.
Son, who emigrated to California from Japan at the age of 16, completed high school in three weeks while residing with friends and relatives in South San Francisco and completing the necessary examinations at Serramonte High. Son went to Berkeley’s University of California. When Son was 19 years old, he became convinced that computer technology would start the next economic revolution after falling in love with a microchip that was shown in a magazine.
As a student, he started his first commercial venture. Son developed an electronic translator with the assistance of a few academics, which he sold to Sharp Corporation for $1.7 million. By importing secondhand video game consoles from Japan on credit and placing them in dining establishments and dorms, he earned an additional $1.5 million.
After receiving a B.A. in Economics from Berkeley in 1980, Son founded Unison in Oakland, California, which Kyocera later acquired. Son had grown up with the Japanese last name Yasumoto since his family had adopted it. He made the decision to use his Korean surname upon his return to Japan from the U.S., and as a result, he became an inspiration to ethnic Korean youngsters in Japan.
While studying abroad in the United States, Son met Masami Ohno, the wife of a well-known Japanese physician. Two of their daughters.
He resides in a $50 million three-story home in Tokyo with a golf range that uses technology to simulate the weather and temperature of the best golf courses in the world. Additionally, he spent $117 million on a house in Woodside, California, close to Silicon Valley. He is the owner of the Japanese baseball franchise SoftBank Hawks.
Son is the second oldest of the siblings and has three brothers. Taizo Son, his youngest sibling, is a successful investor and serial entrepreneur who created the venture capital company Mistletoe and GungHo Online Entertainment.
He made the decision to use his true Korean-Chinese surname when he immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 to enrol in high school and then the University of California Berkeley. Mr Son claimed that if I had remained permanently in Japan, I likely would have developed into a much more conservative person like other Japanese.
Yahoo and Alibaba investments
Son was a pioneering online business investor, purchasing a stake in Yahoo! in 1995 and putting $20 million into Alibaba in 1999. As of October 23, 2018, Son’s holding firm SoftBank owned 29.5 per cent of Alibaba, which had a market value of over $108.7 billion.
Son founded Yahoo! BroadBand in September 2001 in partnership with Yahoo! Japan, in which he still held a controlling interest despite SoftBank’s investment in Yahoo! having decreased to 7 per cent. Son was compelled to concentrate on Yahoo! BB and BB Phone following a significant depreciation of SoftBank’s shareholding.
SoftBank now owes roughly $1.3 billion in debt. The third-largest broadband and landline provider at the time, Japan Telecom had 600,000 residential and 170,000 business users when Yahoo! BB purchased it. Today, Yahoo! BB is Japan’s top supplier of broadband services. Son resigned from the Alibaba board in June 2020.
Acquisition of Arm Holdings
The largest-ever acquisition of a European technology business, Arm Holdings will was purchased by SoftBank for £23.4 billion ($31.4 billion) in July 2016, when the deal was first disclosed. SoftBank made the announcement that the deal was finished in September 2016. The transaction cost came to around £24 billion ($34 billion).
In a cash and equity agreement worth up to $40 billion, SoftBank Group has agreed to sell U.K. chip designer Arm Limited to U.S. chip producer Nvidia in 2020. When announcing the partnership, SoftBank said that Arm and Nvidia together will develop a computer business “that will lead the era” of artificial intelligence.
Through his investments in SoftBank, Son acquired a 76 per cent stake in Sprint in the 2010s. SoftBank now owns nearly 84 per cent of Sprint after adding more shares to its portfolio.
Solar power investments
Masayoshi Son participated in investing in a countrywide solar power network for Japan in reaction to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in 2011, criticising the nuclear sector for causing “the problem that bothers Japanese the most today.”
Son was revealed to be investing in the largest solar project ever in March 2018, a 200GW construction envisioned for Saudi Arabia as part of its Vision 2030. Son “would underwrite most of 100 GW” of the 275 GW of additional renewable supply anticipated for India by 2027, according to news from July 2018.
To help those affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Son promised to contribute 10 billion yen ($120 million) and his remaining income up to retirement in 2011.
Investments under Vision Fund
The $100 billion Vision Fund, an investment vehicle for the SoftBank Group, was established in 2017 with the goal of making investments in cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and the internet of things. It sought to increase the number of AI firms in its portfolio from 70 to 125 as of 2019. But it also made investments in firms ostensibly dedicated to changing the real estate, transportation, and retail industries.
Son promised that in order to promote the development of entangled synergies among the enterprises financed by Vision Fund, he would establish personal relationships with the CEOs of each company. Today, Yahoo! BB is Japan’s top supplier of broadband services. Son resigned from the Alibaba board in June 2020.
Every few years, Son intended to raise $100 billion for a fresh fund, investing around $50 billion annually in start-ups. A second Vision Fund was established in 2019 with a goal of $108 billion, of which $38 billion will come directly from Softbank. However, the sum was reduced because Softbank Group and Masayoshi Son were the only investors.
Coupang, Didi, Doordash, Fanatics, Grab, Oyo, Paytm, Uber, and WeWork were among the 88 companies the first fund had invested in as of 2020. However, the Japanese investment management conglomerate’s portfolio weaknesses were exposed more quickly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a Chinese anti-monopoly crackdown.
After the Alibaba Group saw stratospheric growth, Son gained notoriety as a stock investor. When Alibaba was still a fledgling Chinese startup business in 2000, he had made a $20 million investment in it, unfortunately passing up early possibilities to make investments in both Amazon and Tesla.
Since founding Softbank Vision Fund in 2017, he has increased his stock investing reputation globally and created an unheard-of investment vehicle with approximately $100 billion to support technological businesses.
But by 2021, he was still having trouble convincing investors of the worth of his work, in part because of missteps and problematic losses with businesses like WeWork, OneWeb, Wirecard, OYO Rooms, Katerra, or Greensill Capital, and SoftBank Group’s own stock had a history of trading at a significant discount to the value of its assets due to tax liabilities, risk, past performance, losses, performance fees, and the high likelihood of several haircuts occurring.
By October 2021, Masayoshi Son had quickened the pace of his startup investments, quintupling the number of companies in his Vision Fund 2 portfolio in less than 9 months, SoftBank had increased dealmaking with fewer employees than ever before, and the average investment amount per company had dropped from $943 million in Vision Fund 1 to $192 million in Vision Fund 2.
Masayoshi Son Family
Son had the opportunity to meet Masami Ohno, the spouse of a well-known Japanese doctor while studying abroad in the United States. with their two daughters.
He lives in a three-story, $50 million mansion in Tokyo with a golf range that employs technology to replicate the weather and temperature of the world’s top golf courses.
Masayoshi Son Net Worth
His current net worth is $12.6 Billion as of 2023. Son’s 29 per cent ownership position in SoftBank, a publicly listed Japanese telecommunications corporation, accounts for the majority of his fortune. According to its website, it has more than 1,400 subsidiaries, many of which are closely held online firms.
Son is the direct and indirect owner of the shareholding, according to a business filing from May 23, 2022. Nearly one-third of Son’s holdings have been pledged as security for loans from nearly 20 financial institutions. SoftBank shares used as collateral have not been included in the computation of his net worth.
On March 11, 2022, the valuation was revised to reflect a re-count of Son’s Softbank ownership based on current filings. This caused the computation to be reduced by roughly $2.4 billion. Son owns residential real estate in Tokyo, which Mitsuo Hashimoto, the head of Housing Japan, estimates to be worth $45 million.
Son purchased a home in California in November 2012 for $117.5 million, according to news reports from the time. A spokesperson for SoftBank named Matthew Nicholson declined to comment on the billionaire’s wealth. [table id=3844 /]
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