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Softbank sets first-quarter sales record of ¥1.99 trillion

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

SoftBank Corp. said Friday that it notched a first-quarter sales record of ¥1.99 trillion, thanks to its bold acquisition of U.S. telecom giant Sprint Corp. and other companies over the past year.

Although that’s more than double what it logged in the same quarter a year ago, the company’s operating and net profit both dropped following a one-time gain last year from the consolidation of GungHo Online Entertainment Inc.

SoftBank logged operating profit of ¥337.6 billion, down 16 percent, and net profit of ¥77.6 billion, down 68 percent, for the reporting period.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said that without the ¥149.1 billion gain from the Tokyo-based video game maker, creator of the smartphone mega-hit Puzzle & Dragons, operating profit would have jumped 35 percent for the quarter.

Emphasizing that its mobile communications businesses are going well both in Japan and the United States, Son kept SoftBank’s full-year forecast unchanged at ¥8 trillion in sales and ¥1 trillion in operating profit.

While SoftBank has reportedly given up on purchasing America’s fourth-largest carrier T-Mobile, due to antitrust concerns, Son declined to comment because the bid was never officially announced.

“I’ve said that the U.S. market will be healthier and see more competition if it has three major carriers instead of two,” he said. “My basic stance has never changed from the beginning.”

The U.S. market is led by giants Verizon and AT&T, and Son has been bent on acquiring Sprint and T-Mobile to challenge them, but competition is accelerating quickly in the U.S. market.

Son said Sprint’s turnaround is going well, noting that it posted an operating profit in the past two quarters and that its communication infrastructure has improved.