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SoftBank to sell US$3.1b worth of Japan telco unit stake

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SoftBank Group said it plans to sell 5 per cent of its domestic telco SoftBank Corp as part of its plan to raise US$41 billion through asset sales.

[TOKYO] SoftBank Group said it plans to sell 5 per cent of its domestic telco SoftBank Corp , currently worth US$3.10 billion, as part of a programme to raise US$41 billion through asset sales.

The sale of 240 million shares for a yet to be determined price and set to close on May 26 will leave SoftBank Group with a 62.1 per cent stake in Japan's third-largest wireless carrier.

SoftBank Corp's shares closed down 0.8 per cent on Friday ahead of the announcement at 1,375 yen, giving a 5 per cent stake a market valuation of 330 billion yen (S$4.34 billion).

SoftBank needs cash for a record stock buyback aimed at supporting the price of its shares, which have been used by chief executive Masayoshi Son as collateral for loans, as its tech investments falter.

It is in talks to raise about US$20 billion by selling part of its stake in T-Mobile US, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

The conglomerate also said on Monday it plans to raise 1.25 trillion yen by monetising part of its stake in China's Alibaba Group Holding through derivative contracts.

SoftBank reported a record annual operating loss this week as investments via its US$100 billion Vision Fund flounder, with Mr Son forced to sell down core assets from his portfolio to shore up the balance sheet and restore investor confidence.

REUTERS

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