IN DECEMBER OF 2016, Donald Trump paraded Masayoshi Son, CEO of Japan’s SoftBank, through the lobby of Trump Tower. The proud president-elect called Son “one of the great men of industry.” Indeed, the two have a lot in common. They’re both big talkers with deep respect for enormous numbers of zeros—Son is the world’s 39th richest man—whose favorite currency is favors. Son promised over a year ago to bring jobs to the US, and, in response, Trump promised to make it easier for Son to do business in America.
Last week, relentless, idiosyncratic, one-man-show dealmaker Son (sound familiar?) began the process of calling in Trump’s promise of deregulation: Sprint, which is owned by SoftBank, will be acquired by T-Mobile, even though the federal government has twice in the past seven years said such a combination would be illegal.