SoftBank to buy 5.6% of Wirecard for $1.37b

SoftBank has hired financial advisers and is working on a deal to acquire bonds that can be converted into Wirecard shares. PHOTOS: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Japan's SoftBank Group Corp will buy a 5.6 per cent stake in German payments company Wirecard by acquiring convertible bonds worth around 900 million euros (S$1.37 billion), Wirecard said in a statement on Wednesday (April 24).

Under the investment, Wirecard said it shall issue convertible bonds with a term of five years exclusively to an affiliate of SoftBank, convertible to 6,923,076 million ordinary shares at 130 euros per Wirecard share.

The issuance of the convertible bonds, which currently corresponds to around 5.6 per cent of Wirecard's stock, is subject to approval by shareholders at its annual general meeting on June 18, Wirecard said.

The investment comes as Wirecard defends itself against Financial Times newspaper reports earlier this year saying staff at its Asian operations had inflated reported revenue.

Last month, Wirecard said an outside law firm investigating the matter found local staff at its Singapore office may have committed crimes but these were not material to the German payment company's financial position.

The two companies said they had also signed a memorandum of understanding for a strategic partnership in the area of digital solutions.

SoftBank will help Wirecard expand into Japan and South Korea, and provide collaboration opportunities in digital payments, data-analytics/AI and innovative digital financial services within the Japanese firm's portfolio companies.

"Through this potential partnership, we will expand our reach and products to the East Asian markets, thereby further strengthening our position in Asia," Wirecard Chief Executive Markus Braun said in a statement.

Shares in Wirecard were indicated up 4.8 per cent in pre-market trade.

Credit Suisse acted as financial advisers to SoftBank and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as legal adviser.

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