Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp. will carry out an initial public offering of its Japanese mobile subsidiary, set for Dec. 19, in what will likely be one of the world’s biggest IPOs.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange approved the listing of 1.6 billion shares of SoftBank Corp. Monday, at 1,500 yen ($13) a share, raising potentially more than 2 trillion yen ($20 billion).
Founded in 1986, initially running software, broadband and fixed-line telecommunications businesses, the company has expanded to become one of Japan’s top mobile service providers. It was the first carrier to offer the Apple iPhone in Japan.
The parent is investing in a range of companies globally, including U.S. wireless company Sprint, British IoT company ARM, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and U.S. ride-sharing service Uber.
Recently, SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son was in the spotlight for his relations with the Saudi prince after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Son has said denounced the killing. He said earlier this month that he went to Saudi Arabia to relay his concerns to the prince.
Son has been partnering with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and about half of his $100 billion Vision Fund, established in 2016, comes from the kingdom. The fund has been investing in various companies, solar projects and artificial intelligence.
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old columnist for The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, although details are still unclear.
SoftBank is eager to gain cash to fuel its investments, which include financial-technology, ride-booking services, as well as office space sharing WeWork and the Pepper companion robot.
Even after the listing, the parent owns 63 percent of Softbank Group.
SoftBank’s IPO, which may be expanded to include more shares to as many as 1.7 billion shares, could be the biggest ever. Alibaba’s $25 billion initial public stock offering on Wall Street in 2014 was the biggest by a Chinese company. Facebook raised $16 billion in 2012.
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