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SoftBank Selects Nomura, Goldman Sachs to Lead IPO

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SoftBank Selects Nomura, Goldman Sachs to Lead IPO

  • Share sale may raise $27 billion, eclipsing Alibaba as biggest
  • Mobile operator is eyeing Dec. 19 for Tokyo exchange listing
SoftBank Is Said to Pick Banks for Telecom Arm IPO

SoftBank Group Corp. has picked banks including Nomura Holdings Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG 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 Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., will help the company sell about 3 trillion yen ($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 Dec. 19, although the timing could change, the people said.

A deal of that size will be the biggest IPO ever, surpassing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25 billion 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.

Read how SoftBank may seek financing from banks pitching IPO role

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

The Tokyo-based company plans to market most of the IPO stock to Japanese individuals, Bloomberg News has reported. 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 $100 billion 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 Bloomberg interview.

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

— With assistance by Manuel Baigorri

(Updates with other joint global coordinators in first two paragraphs.)