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SoftBank phone unit makes preliminary application to list shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange

Kyodo

SoftBank Group Corp. said its mobile phone unit has submitted a preliminary application to list its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in what is likely to be the largest initial public offering this year in Japan.

The debut of SoftBank Corp. is expected to surpass that of flea market app operator Mercari Inc., which was valued at ¥676.6 billion upon its debut last month on the TSE’s Mothers market for startups.

Expectations have grown that the debut of the SoftBank mobile phone unit could rival the country’s largest-ever IPO, the ¥2.2 trillion listing of NTT Corp. in 1987.

The start to trading in the mobile phone unit is subject to regulatory approval, with a date yet to be determined, the group said Monday. In February, SoftBank Group said it was considering listing the unit within a year.

Under CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group has been morphing into a more investment-oriented company in recent years. Its investments include ride-hailing service provider Uber Technologies Inc. of the U.S. and British semiconductor designer ARM Holdings PLC.

The planned listing will not change the mobile phone unit’s status as a major consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank Group, according to the telecommunications giant.