SoftBank Plans Bonds to Revive Failed Google Moonshot: Nikkei
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Corp. is planning to issue its first sustainability bonds as early as January to revive a project scrapped by Google parent Alphabet Inc. aimed at beaming internet service from high-altitudes, the Nikkei reported Tuesday.
SoftBank plans to raise more than 30 billion yen ($261 million) through the debt that will be used to fund projects linked to its high altitude platform station business, according to the report. Alphabet has transfered about 200 patents from its Loon project to the telecoms unit of SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese company said in September.
A spokeswoman for SoftBank declined to comment.
Google launched Loon in 2013 as an ambitious effort to blanket the globe with internet connectivity using giant balloons drifting on currents high in the stratosphere, but was forced to close it after the unit failed to develop a viable business model. SoftBank, which invested $125 million in Loon in 2019, is developing its own wireless technology that uses fixed-wing autonomous aircraft as a flying base station.
SoftBank began exploring alternatives to terrestrial antennas after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami knocked out a broad swath of its network in Japan. In September of last year, the company’s solar-powered unmanned aircraft completed its first stratospheric test flight in New Mexico that lasted over 20 hours.
SoftBank is considering 7- and 10-year maturities for the bonds, according to the Nikkei, which identified Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities and Mizuho Securities as underwriters.
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