Softbank Corp’s investment in a Hollywood movie studio represents the coming out party for two new players in the U.S. entertainment industry -- the Japanese telecommunications company and Nikesh Arora, the former Google Inc executive running a new media and internet company.
Two months after unexpectedly decamping from Google for SoftBank, Arora struck a $250 million deal for a minority stake in Legendary Entertainment, announced on Thursday. Earlier, he had tried unsuccessfully to strike a partnership with DreamWorks Animation, sources said.
As CEO of San Carlos, California-based SoftBank Internet and Media Inc, Arora is charged with investing in and operating media and digital media companies, including music, e-commerce and gaming, said one person close to Softbank. Softbank, owned by legendary investor Masayoshi Son, owns U.S. mobile carrier Sprint and is the largest investor in China e-commerce company Alibaba.
At Google, Arora oversaw sales, marketing and partnerships, an outsider's job at a company, where engineering skills are prized above all else.
The buttoned-down and polished Arora, who has a masters degree in business from Northeastern University and previously worked at T-Mobile Europe, became one of the most powerful Google executives, and the highest paid in 2012, when he made $51 million in cash and stock.