* Trump's promised deregulation to make doing business
* Son says has flexible view on U.S. telecom restructuring
* Q3 operating profit 295.7 bln yen vs 246.3 bln expected
(Recasts with fresh comments from CEO Son)
By Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO, Feb 8 SoftBank Group Corp's CEO
Masayoshi Son said on Wednesday the Japanese firm should benefit
from President Donald Trump's promised deregulation of the
American economy and that he is keeping his options open about
U.S. telecoms unit Sprint.
SoftBank, a telecommunications and technology behemoth that
holds a 29.9 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba
, was among the first major foreign corporations to
promise U.S. investments and jobs after the November
Billionaire Son pledged a $50 billion investment and 50,000
new jobs in the United States after meeting Trump in early
"President Trump has promised to ease various regulations
and that should make it easier to do business," Son said at a
press briefing in Tokyo following the release of SoftBank's
Son didn't specify what deregulation promised by Trump would
benefit his company.
His investment pledge in December had revived speculation
that telecoms firm Sprint, 83 percent owned by SoftBank, might
rekindle merger talks with T-Mobile US Inc that had
died under pressure from U.S. regulators.
Asked at Wednesday's briefing about a renewed merger bid
with T-mobile, Son said: "Three years ago, I was so eager to buy
T-Mobile. But now, I have many options. Sprint can be profitable
on its own. Keeping Sprint separate is also an option."
Some of Son's $50 billion U.S. investment commitment could
come from a giant tech fund backed by Saudi Arabia that SoftBank
announced in October. As the telecoms services markets mature,
Son wants to transform SoftBank into a company with cutting-edge
tech investments, or what he calls the "Berkshire Hathaway of
the tech industry".
SoftBank expects to invest over the next five years at least
$25 billion in the $100 billion tech fund, which would be one of
the world's largest private equity investors and a potential
kingpin in the technology industry.
"We are preparing to launch a fund that would be far larger
than all venture capitals combined," Son said on Wednesday,
adding it will own 20 percent to 40 percent of the companies it
invests as top shareholder. Son declined to give details about
the fund's operations because of a "quiet period" ahead of the
Apple Inc has revealed plans to invest $1 billion
in the fund. Foxconn of Taiwan, Oracle
founder Larry Ellison's family office and chipmaker Qualcomm
are said to be intending to invest in the fund.
Asked about Trump's travel ban, Son said he wanted to
refrain from making comments about "political matters".
SoftBank's October-December operating profit soared 71
percent to 295.7 billion yen ($2.63 billion), beating a Thomson
Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate of 246.30 billion yen.
SmartEstimates give greater weight to recent forecasts by
Sprint trimmed its quarterly loss as the No. 4 U.S. wireless
carrier added more subscribers than Wall Street expected.
This was the first full quarter since SoftBank completed a
$32 billion acquisition of Britain's most valuable technology
company ARM, but SoftBank's earnings are still highly dependent
on Sprint and the performance of the domestic telecommunications
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by