Nikkei: SoftBank to list 30% of mobile unit for ¥2T raise

SoftBank chief Son to plans telecom unit IPO

Quarterly sales rose 3.9% to 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion). Previous 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. Indeed, SoftBank's was little changed in the past year, while its stake in Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. increased by about $60 billion. Last year, Son formed the Vision Fund to focus on technology investments, raising $93 billion from backers like Apple; so far, it has invested about $28 billion to date in technology companies.

Net income totaled 912 billion yen, well above estimates of 151 billion yen, in part because of Sprint Corp. "This way I can also spend more time on longer-term global corporate strategy". Mr Son, whose acquisition of Vodafone's Japan business in 2006 was the industry's biggest shake-up in recent history, has said he welcomes the competition.

He established the Vision Fund, the world's largest private equity fund, which, in conjunction with the Delta Fund set up to invest in Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing, has funnelled $27.5 billion into 20 tech firms as at the end of December.

SoftBank plans to offer Swiss Re's insurance products directly to users of other companies it has invested in, such as Uber and WeWork, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

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SoftBank veteran executive Ken Miyauchi has run the mobile business since 2015, and took charge of all domestic operations the following year as Son increasingly devoted more of his time to overseas bets.

A finance industry source said Swiss Re had always been looking for an anchor shareholder who would recognize the full value of the company.

SoftBank Group Corp. said Wednesday that it wants to list its Japanese telecoms unit this year, a move toward completing its transformation from a domestic telecoms upstart into one of the world's biggest technology investors. This would be below the 33.3 percent threshold above which SoftBank would be required to make a bid for the entire company, according to Swiss takeover rules. In a press conference, SoftBank Group's Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said he hopes the unit will be listed within a year.

"Swiss Re has a strong balance sheet and pays a high dividend yield - above 5 percent - which I think they can keep up", Stefan Schuermann at Bank Vontobel in Zurich said.

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