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SoftBank aims to raise $22bn from mobile unit IPO

Parent files for Tokyo listing that could come by year-end

SoftBank Corp., one of the three big mobile carriers in Japan, could mark that country's largest-ever IPO.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group has filed for the listing of its mobile service unit SoftBank Corp., in an apparent bid to raise about 2.5 trillion yen ($22.6 billion) from the stock debut.

The parent said Monday that a preliminary application has been submitted to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The group's core telecom business is expected to debut on the bourse's first section as early as this year. Owning almost all of the unit, SoftBank Group appears to be aiming to sell more than 30% of the shares in the initial public offering.

This could be the largest-ever IPO in Japan, surpassing the 1987 debut of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, which raised around 2.33 trillion yen, if investor demand is strong.

The market capitalization of the mobile service company is estimated at around 7 trillion to 8 trillion yen, similar in scale to its main rivals -- NTT Docomo and KDDI -- which have have market capitalizations of 10.7 trillion yen and 7.8 trillion yen.

SoftBank Group generated around 1.3 trillion yen in operating profit in the year ended March. The domestic telecom business accounted for 680 billion yen of the total, with an annual cash flow in the 500-billion-yen range.

The parent plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to accelerate its expansion abroad as an investment company.

The telecom unit conducted a 700-for-1 stock split in March, boosting the number of its outstanding shares to around 4.6 billion -- far more than the 1.1 billion shares of the parent and comparable to Hitachi's 4.8 billion and Japan Post Holdings' 4.5 billion.

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