SoftBank to sell $41bn in assets to buyback shares and lower debt

SoftBank Masayoshi Son.jpg

SoftBank Group (SBG) has confirmed that its board of directors have approved the sale of $41 billion (JPY4.5 trillion) of its assets.

Once completed the group intends on repurchasing up to $18 billion (JPY 2 trillion) of SBG common stock with the balance to be used for pay down its debt, bond buybacks and increase its cash reserves.  

The sales will take place over the next four quarters and forms part of a new program, in addition to the company’s $4.5 billion (JPY 500 billion) share repurchase program announced on 13 March 2020.

At present, SBG has more than $245 billion (JPY 27 trillion) in assets and $15 billion (JPY 1.7 trillion) of cash available.

“This program will be the largest share buyback and will result in the largest increase in cash balance in the history of SBG, reflecting the firm and unwavering confidence we have in our business,” said Masayoshi Son (pictured), chairman and chief executive officer of SBG.

“This will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet while significantly reducing debt. Moreover, the monetisation of assets represents less than 20% of the company’s current asset value.”

Together, the two buybacks – this and the previously announced buyback on March 13 – would result in the company repurchasing and retiring 45% of SBG’s stock.

Under the terms of the share repurchase program, SBG may purchase shares of its common stock through various means, including open market transactions, privately negotiated transactions, tender offers.

In addition, as part of the company’s efforts to enhance its governance, the board has hired an independent search firm to find three qualified candidates that the company plans to present as new independent board members at this year’s Annual General Meeting of Stockholders.

Earlier this year, SoftBank was named one of 11 companies represented in the newly formed HAPS Alliance.