Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo. Source: AP

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son ditches retirement, plans on becoming top tech investor

IF anyone still has doubts that Masayoshi Son of SoftBank was going to forgo his retirement plans – they should no longer.

The telco giant’s CEO was initially ready to call it quits when he hired Nikesh Arora away from Google with intentions to make him the heir to the SoftBank throne. After two years of grooming Arora for the role, Son changes his mind in June and decided to lead the company that he founded for another five to ten years.

“I was thinking of handing over my job as CEO when I turn 60, but thought maybe I’m still a bit too young, and still have energy to continue,” said the 59-year-old Son in an interview.

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As reported by Bloomberg, a month after Arora leaves SoftBank, Son drops a whopping US$32 billion to acquire U.K. chip designer ARM Holdings, which showed his dedication to investing in the future of interconnected devices.

Besides shelling out tens of billions to make strategic acquisitions, Son has also very recently unveiled a new global fund called the ‘SoftBank Vision Fund.’ The biggest part about this news is besides the US$25 billion that Softbank will put in, it’s also partnered with the public investment fund of Saudi Arabia to add another US$45 billion over the next five years. The public fund had already made its foray into tech investments in June by investing US$3.5 billion into Uber, but partnering with Softbank will likely solidify it’s position in the sector.

The fund is also open for contributions from other global investors, which could potentially increase its size to US$100 billion. As Son recently shared his ambitions to become “the biggest investor in the technology sector,” the SoftBank Vision Fund might just help get him there.

Although Sequoia Capital tops Forbes’ Midas List as one of the shrewdest venture firms globally, Son’s plans for investment domination should not be perceived as too tall of an order as he, too, has made tens of billions in the past from investing in the likes of Alibaba and Yahoo.

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This Bloomberg-reported quote from Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda, gives an indicator of Son’s global investment strategy.

“It’s conceivable that after capturing the core of the Internet of Things with ARM, Son will next look to other semiconductors, electronic components and software. SoftBank has a proven track record of investment successes. They are looking for the next Alibaba,” he said.