Masayoshi Son, Sprint’s Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, bought Sprint back in 2013. He paid around $20 billion for about a 66% stake in the company. SoftBank had acquired numerous other companies in the past few years and had done pretty well in doing so. Son’s dream was to buy Sprint and turn it into a powerhouse. As he once stated that internet speeds in the US are way too slow for the price that Americans are paying. However the purchase of Sprint hasn’t gone over too well for Son.
In 2014, Son was attempting to also buy T-Mobile US and combine it with Sprint. The feeling here was having two smaller carriers combine, would be an easier way to compete with Verizon and AT&T, both of which are more than double the size – in terms of customers – of T-Mobile and Sprint. However, regulators blocked it, and told Son it wouldn’t happen. After he decided to pull out of that deal, Son then swapped CEO’s at Sprint. Taking Dan Hesse out of the position – although he still remains on the company’s board of directors – and putting Marcelo Claure in his spot. He left his own company, Brightstar to head up Sprint in 2014. Since Claure took over, he’s lowered prices dramatically for Sprint users, also have been working to cut costs.
During this time, Sprint dropped from the third largest carrier in the country to now the fourth, and the gap between Sprint and T-Mobile is beginning to widen. Sprint was in a pretty bad position when Son bought a controlling stake in the company, and now it seems to have gotten even worse. SoftBank’s stock dropped about 7.9% on Monday in Tokyo, making it the lowest price it’s been since SoftBank bought Spring nearly 30 months ago. Once more, Masayoshi Son has lost over $3.2 billion from his fortune in the last 12 months. Not exactly what he wanted to happen with Sprint.
Sprint isn’t the only reason that Son is losing money, and SoftBank for that matter. But it definitely is the biggest reason. Alibaba has also seen slower growth in China in the past 12 months, who is the biggest holdings for SoftBank. It appears that investors have given up hope on what is happening with Sprint and what can happen with Sprint. The company hasn’t made it public when they will be announcing their Q4 (Q3 of fiscal year 2015) earnings, but it should be in the next few weeks. And it could be more bad news for Masayoshi Son and SoftBank.