SoftBank to exit Brightstar, following Arm divestment deal

18 Sep 2020

Reuters reports that Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp announced today (18 September) that it intends to sell its US cellphone distributor Brightstar – although no price has been disclosed – as it continues to shed telecoms assets and shore up its cash reserves. Masayoshi Son’s group said it would ‘sell the money-losing firm to a newly formed subsidiary of private equity firm Brightstar Capital Partners for cash plus a 25% stake in the subsidiary,’ adding that ‘Brightstar Capital, founded by a former chief operating officer (COO) at the handset distributor, has USD2.1 billion in assets under management and is not affiliated with Brightstar’.

Earlier in the week SoftBank Group Corp struck a definitive agreement to sell UK-based chip designer Arm for USD40 billion in shares and cash to US tech giant Nvidia. Under the plan, Nvidia will pay USD21.5 billion in stock and USD12 billion in cash for the UK-based chip designer, including a USD2 billion payment at signing. Further, SoftBank may receive an additional USD5 billion in cash or stock if Arm’s performance meets certain targets, the companies said in a statement. The deal excludes Arm’s IoT Services Group division.

As reported by CommsUpdate, in March this year SoftBank Group Corp announced a JPY4.5 trillion (USD41 billion) programme to divest assets and stabilise its deteriorating market value in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In a bid to shore up his company’s position, billionaire owner Masayoshi Son is seeking to buy back stock and slash debt amid concerns that ‘tumbling technology sector valuations’ will undermine the entrepreneur’s debt-laden company. SoftBank, which has established its USD100 billion Vision Fund, is considered particularly exposed to economic shocks, given its backing of numerous as-yet unprofitable start-ups across the globe.

Japan, NVIDIA, SoftBank Group Corp