SoftBank may raise $14b from stake sale in wireless carrier

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

SoftBank Group Corp said on Friday it planned to slash its exposure to wireless carrier SoftBank Corp in a share sale worth 1.47 trillion yen ($13.8 billion) at Friday’s close, marking an expansion of the conglomerate’s asset sales.

The sale will see SoftBank’s stake fall to 40.4% from 62.1%. The offer price for the 1.03 billion shares, including an over-allotment, will be set Sept. 14-16.

SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has been selling down the group’s core assets to stabilise its balance sheet and fund a record share buyback amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement marks the expansion of stake sales beyond the 4.5 trillion yen asset sale plan announced in March. One-off gains from the sales boosted the group’s earnings in the April-June quarter.

“In light of the ongoing uncertainty in the market environment due to concerns about a potential second or even third wave of COVID-19, (SoftBank Group) believes it is necessary to expand cash reserves,” the group said in a statement.

Japan’s third-biggest wireless carrier will remain a group subsidiary, SoftBank said, fitting a pattern of the conglomerate exerting influence over listed investments without holding majority stakes.

SoftBank said it will hold the remaining shares “for the medium to long term”. Son built up the wireless carrier but in recent years has refocused on tech investing.

Separately on Friday, SoftBank Corp said it will spend up to 100 billion yen buying back its shares, which have languished even as its parent’s share price has leapt around 140% since March.

SoftBank Corp’s shares closed down 1.6% at 1,431 yen on Friday ahead of the announcement.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.