Softbank Pepper Robot

SoftBank to Split International & Local Business

March 7, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

SoftBank is a household name in Japan, with hands in just about every industry remotely related to telecommunications. They own and operate one of the nation’s largest mobile carriers, on top of being one of the biggest names in robotics both in Japan and worldwide. With the company being so huge in their homeland, it’s only natural that they would take on some foreign operations. Rather than operate directly, however, they have stake in international trade website Alibaba and ownership of U.S. mobile carrier Sprint. The company, headed by Masayoshi Son, announced Monday that they will be splitting into two entities. One side of Softbank, headed by director Ken Miyauchi, will handle local operations, while another arm, led by Chief Operating Officer Nikesh Arora will take the helm on overseas operations.

The split should be completed no later than December 31, 2016, with a total transfer of assets on both sides planned. The two businesses will still be overseen by Masayoshi Son, but will, beyond that, be two separate entities. What this move could mean for Sprint is a bit unclear at this point, but it is highly likely that more attention will be paid to their operations. In light of recent market performance numbers putting Sprint squarely at the bottom of the Big Four in the U.S. and them having lost Son over $3.2 billion at this point, it’s quite likely that Arora will be lending a firmer guiding hand and perhaps a bit more support than Sprint has seen from Softbank in the past.

All of this will affect Yahoo as well, since Softbank has stake in their Japanese arm. Softbank’s interests in Yahoo, however, will stay with the local arm of Softbank under Miyauchi’s care, most likely leading to more careful cultural and financial management. An improvement in even just one operating country would be a boon for Yahoo at this point, however nothing definite has been announced just yet as to how the split will affect existing business. The transfers and split, of course, are all pending acceptance from all involved parties and a requisite board meeting of SoftBank higher ups.