SoftBank unveils massive US$21b IPO of Japan mobile unit

Doris Richards
November 14, 2018

The initial public offering (IPO) would be one of the largest of all time and represent a formal split between the telecom arm of SoftBank Corp. and its investment activities, which are channeling funds into a range of technology companies. SoftBank will still own at least 60% of the business following the listing. Last year, it launched a $100 billion investment vehicle called the SoftBank Vision Fund, which has secured the backing of some of the world's biggest technology companies as well as sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East.

The amount could rise by 240.6 billion yen if demand triggers an overallotment, taking the total closer to the $25 billion that Alibaba raised in 2014 in the biggest-ever IPO.

SoftBank's reposition comes at a time when the company has to rethink its strategy both in the Japanese and global markets.

In its announcement Monday, SoftBank said the listing would also help clarify the roles of the parent company (SBG) and its Japanese mobile unit.

"The domestic market is mature, so growth will be tough".

Venture Capital SoftBank's mobile unit launches $21 billion listing in one of the biggest IPOs ever The unit, SoftBank Corp, will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19, the filing with the Ministry of Finance showed on Monday. "Rakuten's entry will also increase competition", said Takashi Nakamura, senior strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. Many still see CEO Son as a tech visionary who challenged entrenched rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc and KDDI Corp and brought Apple's iPhone to Japan. By comparison, Americans hold 13 percent of their assets in cash and deposits, and 36 percent in stocks.

SoftBank hopes to lure investors with a dividend payout ratio of about 85 percent of net income.

SoftBank indicated that the IPO price is tentative and a final decision will be made on December 10 ahead of the IPO slated for Dec 19 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange has yet to decide on which section of the bourse the shares will be listed, but given the scale of the listing the mobile unit is expected to go public on the TSE's First Section, where shares of major companies are traded. SoftBank has picked Nomura Holdings Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Mizuho Financial Group Inc., JPMorgan Securities and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. among joint global coordinators.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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