World Economy

SoftBank Eyes $18b IPO for Mobile Unit

SoftBank Eyes $18b IPO for Mobile UnitSoftBank Eyes $18b IPO for Mobile Unit

SoftBank Group aims to list its mobile phone unit SoftBank Corp. in Tokyo and overseas this year, possibly bringing in some two trillion yen ($18 billion), one of the largest initial public offerings ever for a Japanese company.

The telecommunications giant plans to apply to the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as the spring with an eye on having SoftBank Corp. trade on the bourse’s first section starting around autumn. It’s hoping for an overseas debut at the same time, possibly in London, Nikkei reported.

SoftBank Group intends to sell about 30% of the outstanding shares in its subsidiary to investors, keeping a roughly 70% stake. It seeks to gather funds from overseas investors as well due to the massive size of the IPO, which could rival the record 2.2 trillion yen that Nippon Telegraph and Telephone raised in 1987.

SoftBank Group expanded in Japan with telecommunications as its main business by acquiring Japan Telecom in 2004 and the local unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group in 2006. SoftBank Corp., which now handles the group’s telecom business, is one of Japan’s three big mobile carriers along with NTT Docomo and KDDI. The highly profitable mobile operations are SoftBank Group’s bread-and-butter business, earning a more than 400 billion yen operating profit for the April-September half.

SoftBank Group has become more of an investment company in recent years, acquiring US mobile carrier Sprint in 2013 and British chip designer ARM Holdings in 2016, in addition to creating the roughly $93 billion Vision Fund with the Saudi Arabian government and others last year.

Shares in SoftBank surged on the report in morning trade, at one point rising as much as 5.8% from Friday’s close to 9,460 yen.

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