SoftBank profit soars 71% amid Sprint turnaround

SoftBank

SoftBank Group Corp. reported on Wednesday a 71% jump in operating profit for its fiscal third quarter as turnaround efforts at Sprint Corp. took hold.

The Tokyo-based company posted an operating profit of Yen295 billion for the October-December period compared with Yen172 billion the year before, and a net profit of Yen91.2 billion compared with Yen2.29 billion.

The Japanese telecommunications and internet giant posted revenue of Yen2.30 trillion, slightly down from Yen2.38 trillion in the previous year.

The earnings report comes as Sprint's turnaround efforts appear to be gaining traction. The U.S. mobile carrier bought by SoftBank for $22 billion in 2013 narrowed its loss in its fiscal third quarter and continued to increase its customer base.

SoftBank's shares have soared since founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son met then president-elect Donald Trump in December, pledging $50 billion in investments and 50,000 new jobs in the U.S. Since then, SoftBank has said it would create 3,000 jobs through an investment in satellite internet startup OneWeb and 5,000 more by bringing overseas Sprint jobs back to the U.S.

The meeting also raised hopes that under the new administration Mr. Son could revive plans to merge Sprint and T-Mobile US Inc. He had previously given up due to opposition from antitrust regulators under the Obama administration.

SoftBank, which has investments in hundreds of tech companies, has said it would manage the $100 billion fund and contribute $25 billion of its own money. A Saudi sovereign-wealth fund is expected to invest $45 billion, with the remainder coming from investors such as Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Foxconn Technology Co. and Larry Ellison, chairman of Oracle Corp.

Mr. Son said various deals were in the pipelines, and that if they materialized, they would create even more jobs in the U.S.

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