News Article

SoftBank to auction 5% of Japan wireless arm for around ¥313 billion

This month, SoftBank Group Corp. plans to generate as much as ¥313 billion ($2.9 billion) by selling a 5 percent stake in its Japanese wireless subsidiary, the latest in a string of asset divestitures intended to boost its ailing balance sheet.

The group plans to sell 240 million shares of SoftBank Corp. for ¥1,306.5 to ¥1,320 apiece, a discount of around 5 percent to close on Thursday. The parent company said that after the deal its ownership stake will drop to 62.1 percent.

Founder Masayoshi Son announced that he would sell off around $42 billion in assets to help fund stock buybacks and pay off debt. SoftBank revealed it is selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. through complex agreements, and that it’s in negotiations to sell around $20 billion of T-Mobile U.S. Inc., according Bloomberg News sources this week.

Son is battling with the effect of the coronavirus on a portfolio of startups that are heavily weighted towards the sharing economy. Its Vision Fund business lost ¥1.9 trillion last fiscal year after writing down the value of WeWork’s investment to Uber Technologies Inc. In the meantime, the billionaire has turned to ever larger stock buybacks to support SoftBank.

The mounting losses have also put immense pressure on SoftBank’s often obscure structure and management.

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