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SoftBank shares soar after Trump boasts of $50 bn deal


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SoftBank shares soared Wednesday after US President-elect Donald Trump said the Japanese telecoms giant would invest $50 billion in business and job-creation in the United States.

The Tokyo-listed firm jumped more than five percent after the opening bell, hours after the tycoon announced the deal, while wrapping an arm around SoftBank’s flamboyant billionaire founder Masayoshi Son.

In afternoon trading market heavyweight SoftBank was up 4.2 percent at 7,249 yen.

“This is Masa of SoftBank from Japan and he’s just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and 50,000 jobs,” Trump told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

In New York, the SoftBank chief executive brandished a document featuring the names of his firm and that of Foxconn, the Taiwanese technology giant, that read: “Commit to invest $50bn + $7bn in US, generate 50k + 50k new jobs in US in next four years.”

The soon-to-be US president offered no specific details, and a Tokyo-based spokesman for SoftBank declined comment. Foxconn, which assembles Apple’s iPhone and supplies parts, also refused to comment.

Son told reporters the money will come from a $100 billion investment fund he is setting up with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and other partners, a move announced in mid-October, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.

“Investors are welcoming the announcement,” Shuji Hosoi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo, told AFP.

“It was something unexpected, and the size of the pledge is big. Son’s remarks were generally in line with what Trump has been saying (about boosting the economy).”

Trump campaigned on a platform of bringing jobs back the the United States he claimed were being taken away by — particularly by China — while he also threatened “consequences” for American firms that fire workers and leave the country. He also said he would slash corporate taxes.

SoftBank already has investments in the United States: in 2013 it paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint. Son initially set his sights on a merger with T-Mobile, but that plan was abandoned owing to likely opposition from US regulators.

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