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SoftBank to sell $41bn in assets to fund share buyback in coronavirus crisis

Telegraph 23 Mar 2020 11:08

SoftBank is preparing to sell up to $41bn in assets to shore up its crumbling market value in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese conglomerate said it would use $18bn (£15.5bn) from the asset sale to buyback shares and cut its debt in its most significant step yet to  reassure investors about its stability. 

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank, has long held that its shares are priced at a discount, as a market valuation of roughly $100bn falls far short of the $250bn in assets held by the company. 

It has led to calls from Elliott, an activist investor that unveiled an almost $3bn stake in SoftBank in February, for SoftBank to perform a $20bn share buyback that it believes will help restore investor confidence following a bruising period for the firm.

SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund has made a string of risky bets on start-ups such as WeWork, whose losses have dealt it a severe blow and forced the company into a battle to keep key backers onboard, including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

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