SoftBank buys back $4.39 billion in its own shares

15 February 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Japanese telecoms group SoftBank, which owns Sprint of the US, has bought back $4.39 billion (500 billion yen) worth of its own shares in an attempt to boost their price.

SoftBank said in a statement that the move to buy more than 14% of its own shares was “to exercise agile management of capital policy corresponding to any changes of business environment”.

The company share price is around 37% down in a year. Investors are particularly worried about Sprint, which SoftBank agreed to buy in 2012 for $20 billion.

Naoki Yokota, an analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center, told Reuters that investors will respond favourably. “SoftBank shares have become so cheap now. For the company to say it’s buying back at this time will have an ‘announcement effect’,” said Yokota.