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Look out Google, SoftBank's Son wants to be a 'platformer,' too

Japanese tycoon -- like AT&T's boss -- aims to transcend telecoms for IT primacy

SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son

TOKYO -- When SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son found himself in a meeting with Saudi Arabian King Salman and U.S. President Donald Trump in the king's palace in Riyadh in May, it was all part of a gamble by the Japanese tycoon to take his empire beyond telecommunications and into the realm of the true giants. Think Google, Apple and  

Son was there thanks to a 10 trillion yen ($89.8 billion) investment fund that SoftBank established with Saudi Arabia to channel oil money into U.S. information-technology startups. The move also served a diplomatic purpose by helping improve shaky ties between the U.S. and the Middle Eastern country.

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