SoftBank Group Plans to Sell First Bond in More Than a Year

SoftBank Group Corp. plans to sell its first bond in more than a year, joining a rush by issuers globally to tap credit markets while borrowing costs are low.

The Japanese technology conglomerate is preparing to sell about 100 billion yen ($973 million) of hybrid bonds, according to co-lead underwriter Nomura Holdings Inc. It plans to price the deal this month.

Borrowers from Asia Pacific have started the year with a flood of bond sales, with issuance in dollars and euros topping $20 billion in just two days. SoftBank Group’s bonds and stock price rebounded sharply last year after initially diving when markets convulsed in early March due to the pandemic and concerns about the company’s large debt burden.

Founder Masayoshi Son responded with a 4.5 trillion yen asset disposal plan and a 2.5 trillion yen stock buyback. While SoftBank Group has an A- investment-grade score locally from Japan Credit Rating Agency, it has junk ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.

The company plans to sell yen bonds that mature in 35 years but that can be called after five, it said in a statement. The proceeds from the debt sale will be used for the early redemption of hybrid notes that have a call date in September.

The Japanese conglomerate reported a record 784.4 billion yen profit in its Vision Fund business for the three months ended Sept. 30, as investments in startups paid off after a broad rally in technology stocks. SoftBank Group reported a record loss in the previous fiscal year after writing down investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.

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