Sprint and internet provider OneWeb may have already planned to create a combined 8,000 jobs in the U.S., but Sprint’s parent and OneWeb investor Softbank is happy to give President-elect Donald Trump all the credit as it eyes a merger with T-Mobile.
According to a report in TechCrunch, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son has pledged to create 50,000 jobs and invest $50 billion in the U.S. through its $100 billion technology fund that Softbank created in October with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund. The jobs Sprint and OneWeb are committing to make are part of the 50,000 previously announced, although that hasn’t stopped Trump from taking credit.
“I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States,” Trump told reporters, according to the TechCrunch report. “They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States… and also OneWeb, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people.”
While stepping on the toes of the incoming president of the U.S. would make zero sense for any CEO, TechCrunch is speculating that Softbank’s willingness to let Trump take credit for the new jobs may be more to do with Softbank CEO Son wanting an easy go at it in merging Sprint with T-Mobile than anything else. After all, Softbank has seen regulators repeatedly derail previous attempts to merger Sprint and T-Mobile. Son told reporters in the lobby of New York’s Trump Tower, where he posed for photos with the president-elect, that he sees a lot of deregulation coming with a Trump presidency. Since Son had a meeting with Trump, speculation has swirled that Sprint and T-Mobile would have an easier go at a merger since Trump’s administration is expected to undue a lot of telecom regulation put in place by the Obama presidency. In addition to net neutrality potentially going away, many expect a friendlier M&A environment under Trump, which bodes well for Sprint and T-Mobile.