SoftBank Group to sell US cellphone distributor Brightstar

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

SoftBank Group Corp said on Friday that it would sell US cellphone distributor Brightstar Global Group for an undisclosed price, marking the latest asset sale by the Japanese conglomerate to fund a record stock buyback and raise cash.

SoftBank said in a statement that it would sell the firm to a newly-formed subsidiary of private equity firm Brightstar Capital Partners for cash as well as a 25% stake in the subsidiary. Brightstar Capital is not an affiliate of Brightstar Global, the statement said.

The move comes on the heels of an announcement in late August that it was cutting its stake in wireless unit SoftBank Corp, followed by news this week it was selling chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp.

SoftBank was exploring a Brightstar sale to shed lower-growth businesses in 2018, people familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time. Brightstar could be valued at more than $1 billion, the people said.

SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has been selling core assets to stabilise its balance sheet and pay for its repurchase programme to bolster its shares.

Even so, SoftBank executives, frustrated at the group’s share performance, have held early-stage talks about taking the Japanese technology group private, a source has told Reuters.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close by March 31, 2021, SoftBank Group said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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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.