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Business deals

SoftBank to float $7.3bn in overseas bonds

Japanese tech group aims to accelerate startup investments

SoftBank last issued overseas debt in 2018.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group plans to raise some $7.3 billion via the sale of foreign-currency bonds -- the biggest ever overseas debt issue by the Japanese tech investor.

SoftBank said Thursday that it will issue eight bonds, half in dollars and the rest in euros, in its first overseas bond sale since 2018. The bonds will be offered to global institutional investors outside Japan and the U.S.

The funds raised will be used to repay debt and for "general corporate purposes, including the maintenance of a cash position for redemption of outstanding notes due over the next two years and new investments," SoftBank said.

The conglomerate launched its first Vision Fund in 2017 which was set at nearly $100 billion. Its Vision Fund 2 recently doubled its allocation to $40 billion as it steps up its investment in artificial intelligence. Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group's chairman and CEO, has said that he is focused on doubling the number of Vision Fund-backed startups to some 500 companies.

Vision Fund 2 is funded entirely by SoftBank. Through the bond sale, it aims to raise cash for additional investments.

The dual-currency bonds received a rating of "BB+" from Standard & Poor's. They offer an interest rate of 4.0% per year for the five-year dollar bond and 2.875% per year for the five and a half-year euro bond with the expected issue date set for July 6.

SoftBank Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto told Nikkei on Thursday: "Investor demand was strong ... more than double the amount of issuance."

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