Earlier this month, Masayoshi Son, the founder of SoftBank Group (TYO:9984) met President-elect Donald Trump in New York and pledged an investment of $50 billion to create 50,000 jobs. Son later met reporters and said he likes Trump “very much”. No specific details of the investment were revealed, though. But Son did mention that most of this would be in the technology sector.
$1 Billion for Affordable Internet Services
The first detail of this $50 billion investment is now out, barely two weeks after the two leaders met in New York’s Trump Tower. Masayoshi Son has now revealed that SoftBank is going to invest $1 billion in the satellite start-up OneWeb Ltd. The venture wants to provide affordable internet to people all over the world using satellites and needs $1.2 billion for this. Current investors, including the Virgin Group and Airbus (EPA:AIR) are going to fund the balance $200 million.
The agreement is likely to be finalized in the first quarter of next year. OneWeb is currently valued at about $2.5 billion. The founder and Chief Architect of OneWeb, Greg Wyler has confirmed that SoftBank has been offered about 40 percent stake in the business, making them their largest shareholder.
New Jobs Too in the United States
With this investment, OneWeb will be able to build and launch 640 satellites that will circle the globe and offer fast internet to everything from urban and rural homes to vehicles in the US, and education centers in developing countries. The project is expected to kick off at the start of the next decade. It is expected to create about 3,000 new jobs in the US. The low-cost satellites will be made in their Florida plant.
Issuing a joint statement with OneWeb, the SoftBank (TYO:9984) boss said, “Earlier this month, I met with President-Elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the United States. This is the first step in that commitment”.
Masayoshi Son also said, “OneWeb is a key strategic investment for us to connect many of our portfolio companies”.
Other businesses too are working to provide cheap internet, including SpaceX of Elon Musk and Boeing. SpaceX has plans of launching 4,000 satellites. The $1 billion investment will give OneWeb a lead over most of their competitors.
It was also revealed that the $1 billion investment will be made directly by SoftBank, and not through the $100 billion tech fund that was created with Saudi Arabia recently.