Tag Archives: SoftBank

SoftBank considers IPO for Japan wireless unit, said to seek $18 billion
January 15, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) said on Monday it was considering listing its Japanese wireless business, seeking to raise a reported $ 18 billion in a move that would accelerate the conglomerate’s transformation into one of the world’s biggest tech investors.

A spin-off – potentially the biggest IPO by a Japanese company in nearly two decades – would also give the unit more autonomy as well as help investors with valuing the business and its parent.

SoftBank Group, which saw its shares climb 4 percent on the news, has a vast range of holdings including stakes in British chip designer ARM Holdings ARM.L, struggling U.S. wireless service provider Sprint Corp (S.N) as well as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N).

It has with other investors also set up a $ 93 billion Vision Fund, that is investing in range of firms to capitalize on a tech future expected to be driven by artificial intelligence, robotics and interconnected devices.

SoftBank Group plans to sell some 30 percent of SoftBank Corp, raising around 2 trillion yen ($ 18 billion) that would go towards investments in growth, such as buying into foreign information-technology companies, the Nikkei newspaper said without citing sources.

It plans to seek approval from the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as spring and aims to debut in Tokyo as well as overseas, possibly London, around autumn, the business daily said.

SoftBank Group said in a statement that a listing of the business was one option for its capital strategy but that no such decision had been made.

A 2 trillion yen ($ 18 billion) IPO would be one of the biggest listings by a Japanese company, rivaling the 2.2 trillion yen 1986 offering of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (9432.T) as well as a 2.1 trillion yen listing by NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) a decade later.

“It makes sense to spin off the mobile-phone business using a public offering that would leave SoftBank in control and provide SoftBank with more cash to pursue its strategy of investing in companies with potentially high growth prospects,” Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

“It is a way of obtaining capital without adding debt or diluting SoftBank’s equity interests in the growth companies.”

The domestic telecoms unit, Japan’s No. 3 wireless carrier, posted a 4.5 percent rise in operating profit to 720 billion yen in the year ended March on sales of 3.2 trillion yen.

SoftBank Group’s complicated structure and constant stream of new investments have left many investors struggling to value the company with analysts often noting that its market value does not accurately reflect the value of its massive holdings.

SoftBank’s market value currently stands at around $ 92 billion. By contrast, its near 30 percent stake in Alibaba is worth around $ 140 billion.

Large companies seeking to list in Tokyo are required to float at least 35 percent of their shares although these rules can be eased when the company is also listing overseas.

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Sam Nussey; Additional reporting by Chris Gallagher and Minami Funakoshi; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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Uber board strikes agreement to pave way for SoftBank investment
November 13, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] warring board members have struck a peace deal that would allow a multibillion-dollar investment by SoftBank Group Corp to proceed, and would resolve a legal battle between former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and a prominent shareholder.

A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph, in London, Britain November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Venture capital firm Benchmark, an early investor with a board seat in the ride-services company, and Kalanick have reached an agreement over terms of the SoftBank investment, which could be worth up to $ 10 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Uber board first agreed more than a month ago to bring in SoftBank as an investor and board member, but negotiations have been slowed by ongoing fighting between Benchmark and Kalanick. The agreement struck on Sunday removes the final obstacle to launching the tender offer.

SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate that has become a heavyweight in Silicon Valley tech investing, is leading a consortium of investors that plans to invest $ 1 billion to $ 1.25 billion in Uber, and in addition, will buy up to 17 percent of existing shares from investors and employees in a secondary transaction. The terms are expected to be signed on Sunday, one of the people said, although the tender offer would likely take weeks to complete.

Uber is valued at $ 68 billion, the most highly valued venture-backed company in the world. SoftBank’s roughly $ 1 billion investment of fresh funding is expected to be at the same valuation. The secondary transaction, or the purchases from employees and existing investors, would be at a lower valuation.

A spokeswoman for Benchmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for Kalanick declined to comment. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Completing the SoftBank deal would allow Uber to open a new chapter after a year of controversy, including the resignation of Kalanick, the ouster of several top executives, sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, and multiple federal criminal probes. The deal is also tied to new governance rules that aim to more equally distribute power and bring more oversight to the company.

“Uber had a remarkable first six or seven years, a bumpy past two years, and now the Softbank deal allows for a full reset,” said Bradley Tusk, an Uber investor and political strategist who works with tech companies.

The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

It would also be a major victory for Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who often served as a mediator to help broker the agreement, according to a third person familiar with the matter.

To allow the deal to go forward, Benchmark has agreed to immediately suspend its lawsuit against Kalanick, which it filed in August in an effort to diminish the ex-CEO’s power at the company and force him off the board, one of the sources said.

Upon the successful completion of the SoftBank investment, Benchmark would drop the lawsuit entirely, the person said.

In turn, Kalanick must receive majority board approval should he want to replace the board seats over which he has control, according to the source. In addition to his own seat, Kalanick controls two more, which are occupied by Ursula Brown, the former Xerox Corp CEO, and former Merrill Lynch & CO Inc [BACML.UL] CEO John Thain. Kalanick appointed them in September without first consulting with the board.

“Ending the litigation is a big step forward if it finally ends the specter of Kalanick retaking control,” said Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Uber’s board already approved a slate of governance reforms that are contingent on completion of the SoftBank deal. They include removing super-voting rights that gave Kalanick and his allies outsized power, adding new independent directors and increasing the size of the board to 17.

Uber plans to run newspaper ads informing investors about the share purchase, and SoftBank will propose a price at which it will buy stock. The company has threatened to invest in ride-hailing rival Lyft if it doesn’t get the Uber deal done.

The deal gives early investors such as Benchmark, whose Uber stake is worth nearly $ 9 billion, the opportunity to cash out a very lucrative investment.

Reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco and Greg Roumeliotis in New York. Additional reporting by Liana Baker in San Francisco.; Editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Uber board votes in favor of SoftBank deal, governance changes
October 4, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc directors on Tuesday voted to allow Japan’s SoftBank Group to invest in the ride services company and approved a series of governance changes that increases the independence of the board and decreases the influence of former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick.

The company is seeking to shore up its reputation after a series of scandals and to move beyond a battle between Kalanick and Uber investors spearheaded by Silicon Valley’s Benchmark Capital.

The company in a statement said the board had agreed to move forward with the SoftBank (9984.T) deal in coming weeks and governance changes at Uber “that would strengthen its independence and ensure equality among all shareholders.”

One person familiar with the matter said that a group of investors including SoftBank, Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic would be allowed to buy $ 1 billion to $ 1.25 billion of new Uber shares at a company valuation of $ 69 billion and 14 to 17 percent of stock from current investors at a discounted valuation.

The person and a second source said governance changes include expanding the size of the board to 17 directors from 11. The board would include three independent directors, an independent chairperson and two seats controlled by SoftBank once its investment closes.

Shareholders will now have one vote per share, ending a class of supervoting shares in a move that substantially decreases the power of Kalanick and some other early investors.

Reporting By Paresh Dave and Liana Baker in San Francisco, Costas Pitas in London; editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Alibaba And Softbank Join Hands To Offer Cloud Services
May 16, 2016 6:55 am|Comments (0)

The cloud based services from the new joint venture will leverage technologies of Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing division of Alibaba Group.


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SoftBank teams up with Microsoft to develop cloud robots
March 9, 2016 10:50 am|Comments (0)

The first step in the new partnership will be to integrate SoftBank’s robotics with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform to create robots that can interact …


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