SoftBank profit up 19 pct as Japan sales offset Sprint loss


TOKYO (AP) — SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese technology company that owns U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp., reported Thursday a fiscal first quarter profit of 254.2 billion yen ($2.4 billion), up 19 percent from the same period last year.

Healthy telecommunications operations in Japan offset losses at Sprint, helping lift quarterly sales 3 percent to 2.13 trillion yen ($20.3 billion). April-June 2015 profit had totaled 213.4 billion yen. The Tokyo-based company, the first to start selling the iPhone in Japan, did not give forecasts, citing uncertainty.

SoftBank announced earlier this month it’s buying Britain’s ARM Holdings for 24.3 billion pounds ($32 billion), in a deal the British government hailed as a vote of confidence, despite the decision to leave the European Union.

The move underlines SoftBank’s ambitions in the “Internet of Things,” or how various devices, including security cameras and household appliances, connect online and work together.

The deal, which SoftBank hopes to complete by the end of September, has a few steps pending. ARM shareholders, who have been advised by the board to accept the offer, and British courts still need to give their approval.

Separately, SoftBank sold its stake in Finnish game developer Supercell to Chinese technology firm Tencent in a deal that values the company at about $10.2 billion.

SoftBank has promised that a turnaround is coming at Sprint.

SoftBank Chief Executive and founder Masayoshi Son has continued to be aggressive in purchases and sales for his sprawling empire that also includes a solar power business and humanoid robots for home use.

Son announced earlier this year that Nikesh Arora, who joined SoftBank from Google in 2014, and was viewed as his successor, will leave the company, because Son, who is 58, decided he wanted to stay at his job for another decade.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

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