BUSINESS SoftBank mobile unit begins trading on Tokyo Stock Exchange

BUSINESS

SoftBank mobile unit begins trading on Tokyo Stock Exchange

AP

13:16, December 19, 2018

SoftBank Group Corp.'s Japanese mobile subsidiary began trading Wednesday in one of the world's biggest share offerings rivaling that of China's Alibaba Group.

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(File photo: AP)

The IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange seeks to raise more than 2 trillion yen ($18 billion).

Softbank fetched the initial price of 1,463 yen ($13.03), down 2 percent from the IPO price of 1,500 yen announced earlier this month. By midmorning the share slid further to 1,392 yen ($12), down 7 percent from the IPO price.

The listing came just weeks after massive service outage attributed to a software problem, affecting a large number of customers. They were unable to text messages or make payments during the outage.

Softbank is listing 1.6 shares, or about one third held by its parent company.

The IPO compares with some of the world's biggest. Alibaba raised about $20 billion when it went public in 2014, and Facebook raised $16 billion in its 2012 IPO.

SoftBank Group's chief, Masayoshi Son, has also drawn investor concerns for his relations with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

About half of SoftBank Group's $100 billion Vision Fund investment money comes from the kingdom. The fund has been investing in solar projects and artificial intelligence.

The parent SoftBank wants to add cash for its investments not linked to Saudi Arabia.

It has invested in a range of companies globally, such as U.S. wireless company Sprint, British IoT company ARM and Chinese e-commerce Alibaba.

Softbank, which created the Pepper companion robot, was founded in 1986, as a software, broadband and fixed-line telecommunications company. It was the first mobile carrier to offer the Apple iPhone in Japan.

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