Donald Trump Announces Investment, Jobs Deal With Japan's SoftBank

The president-elect struck a deal with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

ByABC News
December 7, 2016, 1:17 PM

— -- President-elect Donald Trump announced that Japanese telecom and internet company SoftBank will invest $50 billion in the United States, which the company claims will create 50,000 jobs.

Trump addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon in New York in the lobby of Trump Tower with Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, whom Trump introduced as "one of the truly great men."

"We are going to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and commit to make, to create 50,000 new jobs," Son said, adding that he plans to do this by investing in new startup companies in the United States.

“I said I would like to celebrate his presidential job and commit because he will do a lot of deregulation,” said Son, who added that he had initiated the meeting with Trump. “I said, ‘This is great, United States, U.S. will become great again.’”

After the meeting, Trump tweeted about the company’s plan, taking credit for its decision.

Some business and legal experts voiced skepticism about the motivations behind Tuesday's announcement.

“On the surface, a foreign business person saying that ‘I’m going to invest in the U.S. because an administration’s policies will favor my company’ is unobjectionable -- it’s just a P.R. matter,” said John Hasnas, professor of business ethics and law at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business.

“The reason why it could be an issue is that if it looks like he’s doing this to get a favorable ruling from the DOJ [Department of Justice] on mergers, then it looks like it’s a potential bribe, or conflict of interest," Hasnas added.

Details of the investment plan and whether the funding pledge was new were not immediately clear. SoftBank and the Trump transition team would not offer specifics on the plan or how the meeting between Son and Trump came about.

In October, SoftBank announced it was forming a $100 billion investment fund to invest in the global tech sector. It would draw funding from a series of global partners, including Saudi Arabia’s government-owned investment fund.

SoftBank pledged to invest at least $25 billion over five years while the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would potentially invest up to $45 billion in the fund over a five-year period, according to a release announcing the creation of the fund.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Son said the $50 billion investment he pledged with Trump would come from the already established global investment fund. A spokesman for SoftBank would not confirm that the money would be drawn from that fund.

SoftBank is a majority stakeholder in Sprint. In 2014, Sprint reportedly abandoned its efforts to acquire competitor T-Mobile after federal regulators expressed concerns about a potential merger.

ABC News' Melina Delkic and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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