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A SoftBank executive says his company is not just throwing around cash when it comes to ride-hailing

Deep Nishar, SoftBank’s managing director, also dodged a key question about Uber and Lyft.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A top SoftBank executive stressed today the company is “absolutely” looking to invest in ride-hailing in the United States — but said it’s “not fair” to describe the Japanese conglomerate’s strategy as merely spreading around its money.

For months, speculation has swirled that SoftBank and its hyper-aggressive chief executive, Masayoshi Son, are pursuing as much as a $10 billion investment in Uber — and could just as easily take that cash to Uber’s chief rival in the United States, Lyft.

Speaking at a conference at Harvard Business School, SoftBank Managing Director Deep Nishar swatted away any talk about such a deal, saying he “can’t comment on those things.”

Strategically, though, Nishar said SoftBank’s approach isn’t to “bet on every odd number on the roulette table.”

“We have invested in the market leaders in the ride-hailing business in India, in Southeast Asia, in China,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, we do believe that ride-hailing — or in general, transportation — is changing in a secular way around the world. There’s no question about it. In the U.S. we have not made any investments, whether it be in Uber or in Lyft. Are we looking in that space in the U.S.? Absolutely.”

Nishar said SoftBank is looking at similar investments in Europe and South America. “So that’s a thesis, that’s a secular thesis we have,” he continued. “It’s not about taking a bunch of dollar bills and spreading them around.”

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