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SoftBank sets indicative IPO price at Y1,500 a share, unchanged from initial estimate



SOFTBANK Corp has set an indicative price of 1,500 yen per share for its IPO, a regulatory filing showed on Friday, making the deal worth 2.4 trillion yen (S$29 billion) in one of the world's biggest-ever listings.

The price was unchanged from the initial estimate that the domestic telecoms unit of Japan's SoftBank Group Corp announced when it launched the initial public offering last month.

In IPOs, companies usually set an indicative price range - rather than just an indicative price - after receiving feedback from institutional investors on initial price estimates.

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The IPO is aimed at providing the SoftBank group with funds to pay down debt and place big bets on innovations that chief executive Masayoshi Son predicts will drive future trends in technology.

The final offer price will be determined on Dec 10 after a book-building process, in which underwriting banks receive buy orders from prospective investors, beginning on Monday. The stock is scheduled to begin trading on Dec 19.

Brokerages initially expressed concern over whether there would be sufficient demand given the sheer size of the share sale. Some have since said they had received ample positive feedback from potential customers.

To generate interest, brokerages have been engaged in an unprecedented marketing campaign, including what are widely believed to be Japan's first TV ads for a private company's IPO.

Fully aware of the mature image of Japan's domestic telecoms business, SoftBank has been pitching itself as a tech-driven growth company, saying it will launch new businesses by teaming up with startups backed by its parent's Vision Fund.

But many retail investors are likely to see SoftBank rather as a stable investment with the added appeal of a high dividend payout. Its 85 per cent payout promise is much higher than those of rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc and KDDI Corp.

Nomura, Mizuho, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and SMBC Nikko are joint global coordinators for the IPO. REUTERS