Masayoshi Son

Japan’s SoftBank Group announced late yesterday that it intends to offload US$12.5 billion worth of shares in telecom unit SoftBank Group Corp.

In a move largely ignored because it took place after trading, but primarily because of the same day announcement that Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was retiring for health reason, it is believed the move by Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank is intended to boost the company’s cash reserves.

Almost 930 million shares are expected to hit the market in late September although no release date was immediately made, but it is believed that the stock offering will be split between domestic Japanese and overseas international offerings.

In its statement announcing the sale, the SoftBank Group attributed the decision to “the ongoing uncertainty in the market environment due to concerns about a potential second or even third wave of COVID-19.”

Earlier in the day, Friday trading saw SoftBank Group Corp shares close at 1,431.5 yen.

SoftBank believes it is “necessary to expand cash reserves beyond the JPY 4.5 Trillion Program (the company is aiming for) to ensure flexible options to respond to changes in the market environment.”

Following the sale it is understood that the total SoftBank Group ownership of its telecoms arm will plummet from just over 62% to 40.4% according to reports.

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