Japanese telco working towards mega-IPO in mid-December

Softbank has appointed major international banks to handle the flotation of its domestic operations, which could come before the end of the year.

The Japanese firm has named Nomura, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank amongst its underwriters, as well as local firms Mizuho Financial Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

Earlier this month the financial newswire’s sources claimed that the listing will take place in Tokyo on 19 December, although added the usual caveat that the timing could still change.

Softbank in February confirmed plans to separate out and list its domestic telecoms operations as Softbank Corp, essentially drawing a clear line between its Japanese mobile business and its various other investments.

It has been making preparations for the listing since then. In March its directors granted Softbank Corp usage rights for the company trademark and resolved to transfer all the shares in its 12 domestic businesses held by Softbank Group International to Softbank Corp. And in July the operator submitted a preliminary application to list its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

However, it has yet to comment on the date of the IPO.

Softbank plans to sell around 3 trillion yen (€23 billion/US$27 billion) worth of shares and will start marketing the sale in November, Bloomberg’s sources said.

The size of the listing is naturally leading industry watchers to draw parallels with Alibaba’s US$25 billion IPO just over four years ago and will of course be keenly watched worldwide.