SoftBank aiming to list domestic operation in 2018

Japanese technology giant SoftBank has set out plans to list its domestic telecoms arm later this year, according to a report from Reuters.

Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group, told reporters that he hopes to list shares of its core Japanese telecoms business which will help “strengthen our financial balance” and be used to drive growth in the wider technology business.

The Japanese telco is a key source of profits for SoftBank, making up a third of its revenue but two-thirds of overall profit, but Son has recently set out to transform the company into a major technology player.

Reports last month claimed Son would look to generate around $18 billion by offloading up to 30% in the Japanese operator in what would be one of the largest IPOs ever in Japan.

SoftBank, formed of Japan Telecom and Vodafone Japan, competes in the Japanese market with NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. The group – but not the local Japanese mobile subsidiary – owns the UK chip company ARM and the stake in US mobile operator Sprint. 

Son ‘s transformation of SoftBank has seen the company set up its global BVision Fund, the world’s largest private equity firm, which has invested more than $9 billion into startups in the last two years, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The fund has raised over $93 billion from backers including the likes of Apple and the state of Saudia Arabia.

“This group strategy is something I had in mind since the very start,” Son added. “I set out to make a conglomeration of No. 1 companies. That’s easy to say, but difficult to do. I can’t think of anyone else who has done it.”

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