SoftBank Group Corp of Japan is reportedly looking to raise between USD3 billion and USD5 billion via a US dollar-denominated bond sale, Reuters reports citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the situation. The Japanese carrier has appointed Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank as joint global coordinators for a bond offering, it said in an announcement on Thursday, without disclosing the amount it plans to raise. A spokesperson for SoftBank confirmed plans to issue ‘hybrid bonds’ (i.e. bonds that are often treated as quasi-equity by credit-rating firms, allowing companies to raise capital without hurting their ratings), although no further details were provided.
The group’s bond offering comes not long after SoftBank became a key backer in what is being described as the world’s biggest tech fund, with capital of USD93 billion, in May this year. The SoftBank Vision Fund, co-financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, Apple Inc, Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp Corp, has raised the monies to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics. A joint statement at the time said: ‘The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment’. The fund seeks to buy ‘minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging businesses to established, multi-billion-dollar firms’, whilst it ’expects to obtain preferred access to long term investment opportunities worth USD100 million or more’. Other sectors in which the fund may invest include mobile computing, communications infrastructure, computational biology, consumer internet businesses and financial technology.