Japan Telecom under new ownership (again)

28 May 2004

Japanese ISP Softbank Corp has announced that it will buy Japan Telecom for JPY340 billion (USD3 billion) from US private equity investment firm Ripplewood Holdings, marking the second change in hands in six months months. Last November Ripplewood paid Vodafone JPY261.3 billion for the company, after the wireless giant opted to ditch its Japanese fixed line operation. The new deal, which involves Softbank taking on JPY164 billion in Japan Telecom debt and buying existing common stock worth JPY143 billion as well as preferred shares worth JPY32.5 billion, will make Softbank Japan’s largest ISP and will give it full control of the country’s third largest fixed line operator. Softbank has earned a reputation as a low cost internet services provider and is Japan’s largest ADSL provider thanks to a strategy of cut-rate pricing, innovative services and an aggressive sales campaign. The combination of the two groups will give Softbank ten million subscribers and annual revenues of JPY1,000 billion. The deal will be completed on 16 November.