SoftBank selects Nomura, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche to lead IPO

October 14, 2018
The mobile operator plans to list the shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19

SoftBank Group has picked banks including Nomura Holdings, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank as lead underwriters for the initial public offering of its Japanese wireless business, said people with knowledge of the matter.

The joint global coordinators, which also include Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, will help the company sell about $27 billion of shares, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

The mobile operator currently plans to start marketing the sale next month and list the shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 19, although the timing could change, the people said.

A deal of that size will be the biggest IPO ever, surpassing Alibaba Group’s $25bn offering in 2014, providing prestige as well as potentially lucrative fees for the lead underwriters. SoftBank is pushing with the sale even as Japanese stocks get caught up in a global market sell-off.

The company’s shares jumped 4.6 per cent on Friday, while the benchmark Topix index was little changed after tumbling 3.5 per cent a day earlier. Representatives for SoftBank and the securities firms declined to comment.

SoftBank had earlier told potential underwriters seeking a large role on the IPO that they should offer to lend to other parts of the parent company’s empire, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. A representative for SoftBank said at the time there was “no truth” to the information.

Led by billionaire founder Masayoshi Son, SoftBank is listing its domestic telecom operation to unlock value as it increasingly focuses on investments in startups. Son is gathering $100bn from global investors for his so-called Vision Fund, and plans to raise similar amounts every two or three years, he said in a recent interview.

First-time share sales in Japan total $4.8bn this year, compared with $3.5bn during the same period in 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The year’s biggest deal was Mercari’s June IPO, which raised $1.19bn, the data shows.