DISASTER MANAGEMENT

SoftBank To Offload US$41B In Assets To Cut Debt

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Japan's SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son bows his head after his presentation at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

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SoftBank Group approved the sale of up to JPY4.5 trillion (US$40.8 billion) of assets to reduce its massive debt and buy-back JPY2 trillion worth of shares.

In a statement, the company said the board authorised the repurchase of its common stock, with the balance to be used to cut debt. It also cleared a bond repurchase and moves to increase cash reserves.

The transactions will be executed over the next four quarters.

Chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son said the asset sale will allow it to strengthen its balance sheet, while significantly reducing debt.

He added the programme will be “the largest share buy-back and will result in the largest increase in cash balance” in the company’s history, “reflecting the firm and unwavering confidence we have in our business”.

The company didn’t specify which assets it plans to sell.

A month ago, SoftBank announced plans to borrow up to JPY500 billion over two years from 16 domestic and overseas institutions, offering a 20 per cent stake in its mobile subsidiary as collateral: it holds a 66 per cent stake in SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank faces increased pressure after its Vision Fund failed to perform as well as expected, recording two consecutive quarters of losses. The company recently unveiled plans for a second Vision Fund, which could put additional strain on finances, as it plans to invest its own capital due to reported struggles in attracting external investors.

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