TOKYO – Japanese telecom giant SoftBank is planning an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its mobile phone unit in autumn to generate around $18 billion in one of the biggest offerings by a Japanese company, local media reported on Monday.
The technology and telecommunications conglomerate is planning to apply between March and May to list its wireless unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, aiming to debut on the Tokyo market and possibly in London before the end of the year, financial daily Nikkei reported.
Although the company did not confirm the reports and said that public listing of its subsidiary was just one of the capital strategy options it was considering, the news made SoftBank shares shoot up by more than 3.7 percent in the market Monday morning.
SoftBank Group intends to sell about 30 percent of the future shares in its subsidiary to local and foreign investors with one of the biggest IPOs in the history of Japan, possibly competing with the NTT listing of 1987.
The company would keep a 70 percent stake in its subsidiary, 5 percent more than the established limit for a listing, which can be eased if the company is also listed abroad, according to Nikkei.
Nikkei reported that the decision to list SoftBank Corp is aimed at giving greater autonomy to the mobile phone unit of the group, which has become more of an investment company in recent years, apart from raising liquidity to continue global expansion.
SoftBank expanded its telecom business by acquiring Japan Telecom in 2004 and the Japanese arm of the British group Vodafone in 2006, becoming one of the biggest phone operators in Japan along with NTT Docomo and KDDI.
The group has also widened its investments by acquiring US mobile phone operator Sprint in 2013 and British chips designer ARM Holdings in 2016.