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SoftBank's mobile IPO marks Son's latest risky play

Listing expected to raise $23bn but analysts question the timing

The Tokyo Stock Exchange looks set to approve SoftBank Corp.'s IPO after determining it to be sufficiently independent from its parent.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange approved SoftBank Corp.'s IPO on Monday   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group has set the stage for what is likely to be one of the largest initial public offerings ever, with its move to float mobile phone unit SoftBank Corp. But as Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son completes the conglomerate's divergence into an investing holding company and a wireless provider, market watchers see significant risks on both fronts.

The IPO, approved by the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday and scheduled for Dec. 19, is expected to raise up to 2.64 trillion yen ($23 billion). SoftBank Group will sell as much as 36.8% of its holdings in its mobile arm, including an overallotment of shares if demand is strong.

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