In a regulatory filing today, SoftBank Group said it has set an indicative price of 1,500 yen ($13.22) per share for the initial public offering of its domestic telecoms unit next month. This means the offering is potentially worth 2.4 trillion yen (about $21.16 billion), making it one of the largest IPOs ever. The price is the same as the tentative one SoftBank disclosed in a previous filing earlier this month.
The IPO is set for December 19 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and its final price will be determined on December 10. The record for the largest IPO is currently held by Alibaba Group, which raised a total of $25 billion in 2014. If there is enough demand for SoftBank Group’s shares, an overallotment can potentially increase its offering’s total by 240.6 billion yen (or about $2.12 billion), bringing it closer to the amount Alibaba raised.
One interesting aspect of this initial public offering is SoftBank Group’s efforts to reach retail investors. For example, brokerages have run television ads for the offering in Japan.
SoftBank’s brand recognition may appeal to individual investors, but at the same time it may also have to answer questions about how investments by its Vision Fund are performing, as well as the $100 billion fund’s reliance on Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Its biggest backer, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), put $45 billion in the Vision Fund and may put the same amount into the second Vision Fund. The PIF is led by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who has been implicated by the Central Intelligence Agency and Turkish officials in the planning of Khashoggi’s death.
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