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SoftBank

SoftBank to sell 5% stake in Japanese mobile arm

Tech conglomerate continues sale of blue-chip assets

SoftBank says it will sell a stake in its Japanese mobiile unit as part of a bigger asset sales plan. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group on Thursday said it will sell a 5% stake in SoftBank Corp., its Japanese mobile unit, through securities companies as part of a $41 billion asset sale program.

The official price tag will be announced after a sale and purchase agreement has been signed, SoftBank said in a news release. The deal is valued at around 330 billion yen ($3 billion) based on SoftBank Corp.'s closing share price of 1,375 yen on Thursday. The transaction is scheduled to close on May 26.

SoftBank will still own 62.1% of the mobile unit after the sale.

The move follows SoftBank's Monday announcement that it is raising $11.5 billion by using its stake in Alibaba Group Holding. In March, the technology conglomerate said it is selling $41 billion worth of assets over a year to boost buybacks, cut debt and raise its cash balance. The sale is in response to a sell-off of its shares as fears over the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc across financial markets.

SoftBank floated the mobile arm, Japan's third-largest telecoms carrier, in late 2018 in a blockbuster IPO that raised about $20 billion. It recently pledged another chunk of the mobile unit's shares to secure loans. It remains a vital source of cash flow for the parent company because of its high dividend payout ratio.

The aggressive IPO has also hit Son's reputation, however. Shares of the mobile unit have mostly stayed below its offering price of 1,500 yen.

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