Today Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) tomorrow the world. That is the message SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son sent out Friday at his company's annual shareholder's meeting in Tokyo.
"I now say, we will become the world's biggest company -- by all measures, whether by sales, profit, or market cap," Son proclaimed, referring to the coup de grace that SoftBank appears to have administered to rival DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH ) this week.
SoftBank and DISH have been fighting over acquiring Sprint in a battle that has gone back and forth since the middle of April, but DISH threw in the towel after SoftBank raised its offer. In addition, Sprint then seemingly blew DISH's $4.40 a share bid for Clearwire (UNKNOWN: CLWR.DL ) out of contention with a SoftBank-supported $5.00 a share offer.
But Son's apparent gloating was leavened with a touch of reality. Wary of DISH chairman Charlie Ergen's legendary tenaciousness, Son did raise the possibility of DISH throwing something else into the pot before Sprint stockholders vote on SoftBank's proposal at their June 25 meeting.
"We don't know what could happen before the meeting," he told SoftBank shareholders.
If all goes according to SoftBank plans, the company will tout a combined SoftBank/Sprint mobile projected annual revenue stream of $25.6 billion, compared to Verizon's $28.7 billion, and China Mobile's $33.8 billion. China Mobile has over 700 million subscribers.
After DISH made its counteroffer for Sprint a little over two months ago, SoftBank had considered going after T-Mobile USA ). "We were faced with extremely difficult problem, since Dish could conceivably disrupt our plans," Son said.
If and when SoftBank and Sprint finally merge, we may then see DISH also seriously considering a T-Mobile takeover.
The 30-year goal for SoftBank, as presented at its stockholders' meeting, is to be among the world's top 10 companies in market capitalization. SoftBank is currently No. 113. The top 10 is now filled with companies like ExxonMobile, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Barring unforeseen circumstances (yet another DISH counteroffer, for example), SoftBank expects closing on its Sprint acquisition in early July. Just one more step toward Mr. Son and company's over-arching goal – to be No. 1, and not just in telecom.