SoftBank, the Japanese company, is gearing up to list its wireless carrier unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as soon as July.
According to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, the move is aimed at raising capital so it can continue on its path to become a technology investment company. The unit, which will have the SoftBank name, could debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by the end of the year with the parent listing a partial stake in the unit. It is the third-largest wireless carrier, noted the report.
During the past few years, SoftBank has been moving to rebrand the company as an investment firm with the launch of its $100 billion Vision Fund in 2017 and its acquisition of Arm Holdings, the U.K. chip designer. Since its launch, the Vision Fund has made investments in roughly 300 companies, including in the artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) markets.
In April, it announced it is investing $400 million in India’s Paytm eCommerce, which will bring the value of the online retailer to around $1.9 billion. According to Reuters, Alibaba — which is already an existing investor in Paytm — is also investing $45 million in the round. SoftBank already owns a stake in Paytm’s parent company. It confirmed its investment in the online marketplace Paytm Mall, which competes with Amazon’s Indian unit, as well as local online retailer Flipkart.
“We believe Paytm Mall’s offline-to-online operating model, combined with the strength of the Paytm ecosystem, is uniquely positioned to enable India’s 15 million offline retail shops to participate in India’s eCommerce boom,” SoftBank said in a statement.
The report noted that the IPO is expected to draw investors on the merits of the wireless carrier business, given it has stability in terms of earnings. SoftBank has an operating profit of nearly $6.2 billion for the fiscal year that ended in March, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, and has cash flow of about 500 billion yen. The report noted that SoftBank has pledged to maintain the mobile unit's independence once it is a publicly traded company.