Friday, 25 May, 2018

SoftBank plans phone unit IPO as Masayoshi Son shifts focus to deals

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son plans an IPO for the firm's telecom unit. Shizuo Kambayashi  AP SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son plans an IPO for the firm's telecom unit. Shizuo Kambayashi AP
Troy Mann | 10 February, 2018, 06:24

SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, told reporters that group companies like ARM and Yahoo!

Son has invested in a variety of companies and technologies, including e-commerce, driverless cars and virtual reality, and Softbank is majority owner of USA wireless company Sprint Corp. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

SoftBank's acquisitions of US mobile carrier Sprint and chip designer Arm Holdings have left the company with high debt and a credit rating that both Moody's and Standard and Poor's put at "junk".

SoftBank Group Corp said on Wednesday it had started preparations to list shares of its core Japanese telecoms unit, SoftBank Corp, as the parent company speeds up global investments under its Vision Fund. Past year it bought a 15 percent stake in ride-sharing giant Uber - which sources said was worth $7.7 billion - while it also has piled cash into Uber's Chinese rival Didi Chuxing. In the past year SoftBank has seen little change, while its stake in Alibaba alone increased by about $60 billion. It would also promote "further".

Last year, it set up a major fund to invest in various technology companies.

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The announcement comes almost a month after SoftBank said it was considering listing the business, with local media estimating the proceeds at $18 billion - potentially the biggest IPO by a Japanese company in nearly two decades.

Quarterly sales rose 3.9% to 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion). Lane thinks one reason for the valuation gap is that shareholders are still largely telecom investors who want healthy dividend payouts, which SoftBank doesn't pay. SoftBank also took a stake of just less than 5 percent in chipmaker Nvidia Corp. last year, which would be worth more than $6 billion at current prices.

Since the Vision Fund's creation, critics have said that it is impossible to invest as much money as fast as is needed to meet Masayoshi target of investing the entire $106 billion in five years.

A finance industry source said Swiss Re had always been looking for an anchor shareholder who would recognise the full value of the company. Last month, the Vision Fund agreed to invest $300 million in Wag Labs Inc., a startup that uses a smartphone app to connect dog walkers with dog owners, and led an $865 million investment in Katerra Inc., a construction-technology startup seeking to shake up the building industry.

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