Softbank plans $18 billion IPO of mobile phone unit as soon as spring: Nikkei

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TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) plans to list its core mobile-phone unit in Tokyo and overseas as early as this spring, raising some 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) in one of Japan’s biggest initial public offerings, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday.

The parent will sell some 30 percent of SoftBank Corp, aiming to debut the shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and elsewhere, possibly London, around autumn, the newspaper said, without citing any sources for the information.

The IPO would rival the 2.2 trillion yen 1987 listing of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (9432.T) in size, it said.

SoftBank officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The listing would aim to give the mobile-phone unit more autonomy in a group that has become more of an international investment company in recent years, the newspaper said. SoftBank would use the proceeds to invest in growth, such as buying into foreign information-technology companies, the Nikkei said.

Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Kevin Liffey