At the height of the dot-com bubble in late 1999 and early 2000, Masayoshi Son’s net worth was surging by $10 billion a week. For three days, he was the richest person in the world, Son said. But before Son had a chance to tell anyone, SoftBank Group Corp. crashed. The company’s shares plunged 75 percent in two months and were 93 percent lower at the end of 2000. The business almost went bankrupt. Son lost much of his wealth.
“Somehow, I survived,” Son said in an interview on “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.” “At that time, I said, ‘Now is the time to go next stage, which is the internet will become mobile internet.'”
To pursue that vision, Son had two avenues: get a spectrum license from the government or acquire an existing phone carrier. After being denied the license, Son pursued Vodafone Japan, convincing lenders to help him buy the carrier in 2006. That helped Son turn SoftBank around. As of Oct. 10, Son was worth $14.7 billion and among the 100 richest people in the world.