SoftBank Group Corp. plans to raise as much as ¥313 billion ($2.9 billion) by selling a 5 percent stake in its Japanese wireless subsidiary this month, the latest in a series of asset divestitures intended to fortify its ailing balance sheet.
The group intends to sell 240 million shares of SoftBank Corp. for ¥1,306.5 to ¥1,320 apiece, a discount of as much as 5 percent to Thursday’s close. The parent company said its ownership stake will fall to 62.1 percent after the deal, which closes May 26.
Founder Masayoshi Son had said he would sell off about $42 billion in assets to help finance stock buybacks and pay down debt. SoftBank disclosed it’s selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. through complex contracts, and that it’s in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile U.S. Inc., according to reports by Bloomberg News this week.
Son is struggling with the impact of the coronavirus on a portfolio of startups weighted heavily toward the sharing economy. Its Vision Fund business lost ¥1.9 trillion last fiscal year after writing down the value of investments from WeWork to Uber Technologies Inc. In the interim, the billionaire has turned to ever larger stock buybacks to sustain SoftBank.
The mounting losses have also imposed immense pressure on SoftBank’s often opaque structure and management.