Softbank, the giant Japanese investment group that has made huge bets on the sharing economy, is looking to cut its stake in Alibaba, according to reports. And possibly in Sprint too. On Monday, Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of the heavily indebted Softbank, said that he would raise or monetize $41 billion of assets, in order to put the group on a sounder financial footing.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that more than a third of the total would be raised by selling a $14 billion tranche of shares in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. That would represent about 3% of Alibaba’s total equity capital, which is traded in New York in ADR form and, in a secondary listing, as shares in Hong Kong. Softbank has long been an ally of Alibaba and has made vast paper profits on its 25% Alibaba holding. But the dire performance of Softbank’s other investments has depressed Softbank’s share price so much that at one point recently its holding in Alibaba was more valued more highly than the entire Tokyo-traded Softbank group.
SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son is continuing to bet on himself, even after he reportedly considered and then abandoned the idea of taking his conglomerate private. Son discussed the idea with investors including Elliott Management and the Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund Mubadala in the past week, the Financial Times reported, before moving ahead with a plan to sell assets instead.