SoftBank seeks $29b in IPO of Japan mobile unit

SoftBank CEO Masa Son

"By the same token, it will also bolster Softbank Group's finances". SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has used the company's $100bn Vision Fund to invest in companies in sectors from gaming to ride-hailing, farming and chip design. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, left, speaks during a SoftBank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo.

SoftBank will also have the option to sell another 240 billion yen ($2.1 billion) of shares if investor demand is strong, which would put the size of the IPO above $23 billion. The company needs to cut down mobile bills to comply with new government requests. The company said it plans to continue to cooperate with the telecoms business, which can take advantage of services from other companies in the Softbank portfolio.

"SBG [SoftBank Group Corp.] announces that it has decided on the disposal of a portion of SB [SoftBank Corp.] shares held by SoftBank Group Japan Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBG."

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

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

At a price of 1,500 yen per share, the planned IPO would value SoftBank's mobile division at 7.2 trillion yen, or $63 billion.

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"The dividend payout ratio is very high", Tokai Tokyo Research Center analyst Masahiko Ishino said.

Japan's biggest mobile phone network provider, NTT Docomo Inc, has a market capitalisation of 9.6 trillion yen and second-ranked KDDI Corp is at 6.2 trillion yen.

Japanese households are commonly seen as an attractive target in IPOs with their ¥1,829-trillion in financial assets, even if they are traditionally risk-averse with over 50% of assets in cash and deposits.

SoftBank plans to offer 89 percent of the shares on sale to domestic investors, almost all of which will be targeted at retail investors, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters. The final IPO price will be determined on December 10.

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.

Nomura, Mizuho, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and SMBC Nikko are joint global co-ordinators for the IPO.

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