SoftBank mobile unit shares recover from early losses

SoftBank Corp apologised for a recent service outage that saw its shares sink 15 per cent on debut, wiping US$9 billion (S$12 billion) off their value.

TOKYO • Shares in the mobile unit of Japanese technology giant SoftBank rebounded yesterday following steep declines on a roller-coaster second trading day, after a bruising debut saw stocks close 14.5 per cent lower.

In earlier exchanges, shares in SoftBank Corp were down 8.3 per cent at 1,170 yen at their lowest level - 22 per cent below the initial public offering (IPO) price of 1,500 yen.

But buyers later erased part of their early losses, as the shares ended down 4.7 per cent.

The volatile trading came after the firm raised some US$23.5 billion (S$32.2 billion) in an IPO that was Japan's biggest and the second-largest globally after Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's debut in 2014.

The money raised will swell the coffers of chief executive Masayoshi Son's Vision Fund, which has invested in some of the hottest tech firms, including Uber and WeWork.

Analysts said the stock had underperformed for several reasons: a weaker market in general, concerns over increased official intervention in the Japanese mobile sector, and a humiliating technical glitch in the run-up to the IPO.

SoftBank took more than one-third of its mobile unit public and was able to sell the full offering of 1.76 billion shares.

The blockbuster IPO was seen as part of Mr Son's strategy to turn SoftBank from a telco to a global high-tech investment firm.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2018, with the headline 'SoftBank mobile unit shares recover from early losses'. Print Edition | Subscribe