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SOFTBANK Corp. (SFTBF)

- OTCPK - Current
  • Apr. 16, 2014, 4:08 AM
    • Alibaba Group (ABABA) could file the prospectus for its U.S. IPO on Monday, Reuters reports, adding that the listing could be worth over $16B.
    • The report comes after major shareholder Yahoo (YHOO) disclosed that Alibaba's Q4 net income surged 110% to $1.35B as revenue jumped 66% to $3.06B.
    • Alibaba's results helped Yahoo's shares climb 6.8% in AH trading. In Tokyo, shares in SoftBank (SFTBF), which owns 37% in Alibaba, jumped 8.5%.
    | 7 Comments
  • Apr. 7, 2014, 10:45 AM
    • With all signs suggesting U.S. regulators remain opposed to a Sprint/T-Mobile USA merger in spite of Masayoshi Son's PR campaign, rumors have emerged SoftBank (SFTBF) will turn its sights on acquiring Vodafone (VOD +0.9%) if its efforts to fuse the #3 and #4 U.S. carriers are thwarted.
    • It's worth noting Vodafone ($96B market cap) would be much harder for SoftBank ($87B) to digest than T-Mobile ($26B). If it was to try, SoftBank would doubtlessly make use of its 37% stake in soon-to-be-public Alibaba (could have a $50B+ pre-tax value).
    • Sprint (S -2.6%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -1.5%) are seeing moderate declines.
    | 3 Comments
  • Mar. 27, 2014, 11:52 AM
    • SoftBank's (SFTBF) $3.17B sale of Japanese mobile ISP eAccess to Yahoo Japan is fueling speculation the Sprint (S +3.6%) parent is raising funds for a T-Mobile USA (TMUS +1.4%) bid.
    • In spite of regulatory pushback, SoftBank's Masayoshi Son continues to press his case for a deal. "A duopoly is taking over our country," he declared today at an industry trade show. "if you look at [the past] five years … it is a fact that those two big companies increased [their market share] from 56% to 73%. What happens in the next five years?"
    • T-Mobile's recent share gains (following years of losses) might have regulators thinking the next five years could go differently than the last five. The ripple effects of the #4 carrier's aggressive pricing might also influence their thinking.
    • Son has promised he'd launch a "price war" if a Sprint/T-Mobile deal was approved, and that the merged carrier would act as a last-mile broadband rival to cable/phone duopolies - that could be easier said than done in densely-populated urban areas.
    | Comment!
  • Mar. 27, 2014, 5:05 AM
    • Yahoo Japan (YAHOF) has agreed to acquire mobile and broadband provider eAccess from SoftBank (SFTBF) for ¥324B yen ($3.17B) in a deal that will expand the Internet portal's services for tablets and smartphones.
    • SoftBank, which owns 42.5% in Yahoo Japan, will book a special gain of ¥55.7B for the fiscal year ending March 2015. Yahoo (YHOO) owns 35% in its Japanese namesake. (PR)
    | 2 Comments
  • Mar. 17, 2014, 9:12 AM
    • Yahoo's (YHOO) gains are in response to Alibaba's (ABABA) confirmation it plans to do a U.S. IPO.
    • At a $140B valuation, Yahoo's 24% stake would have a pre-tax value of $33.6B.
    • Over in Tokyo, SoftBank (SFTBF) rose 4.9% overnight. At a $140B valuation, its 36.7% stake in Alibaba would have a pre-tax value of $51.4B.
    | 6 Comments
  • Mar. 16, 2014, 3:56 AM
    • Alibaba has confirmed reports that it intends to carry out an IPO in New York - and not in Hong Kong - as it looks to become a "more global" and transparent company.
    • The Internet giant could reportedly raise over $15B in the offering, which would make it biggest U.S. IPO ever by a Chinese company. Analysts reckon that the firm's market cap could top $130B.
    • Alibaba hasn't decided which exchange it will list on, nor on a date.
    • Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan will play major roles in the IPO, while Citigroup will have a smaller part.
    • Alibaba said that it might consider listing its shares in China in the future, although it didn't provide details.
    • Alibaba investors Yahoo (YHOO) and Softbank (SFTBF) should be in line for a healthy bonanza from the IPO.
    • The WSJ provides a primer on Alibaba's busines model, calling the company a "a mix of Amazon, eBay and PayPal with a dash of Google thrown in." Alibaba also has "some uniquely Chinese characteristics."
    • ETF: IPO (PR)
    | 15 Comments
  • Mar. 13, 2014, 4:05 AM
    • Alibaba is "95% certain" to carry out its much anticipated IPO in New York rather than in Hong Kong, the FT writes, adding to previous reports that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth will float in the U.S.
    • Listing in New York would allow Alibaba to create a dual-class structure of stocks that would enable its founders and senior managers to retain their tight grip on the company. Hong Kong doesn't provide such an option, although it's mulling a change in rules.
    • Either way, the IPO is set to be one of the largest on record and should provide a large bonanza to Alibaba investors Yahoo (YHOO) and Softbank (SFTBF).
    | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 11, 2014, 10:47 AM
    • Ahead of a big speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son is promising a "massive price war" if skeptical regulators allow Sprint (S +0.7%) to merge with T-Mobile USA (TMUS +2.4%).
    • As expected, Son also insists Sprint and T-Mobile, who between them have a giant portfolio of high-frequency spectrum assets, could act as a credible last-mile broadband rival to phone/cable duopolies if they joined forces.
    • AT&T (T -0.8%) and Verizon (VZ -0.6%) are ticking lower, while Sprint and T-Mobile are up moderately. AT&T has already been cutting prices to counter T-Mobile's aggressive moves - moves that have contributed to FCC/DOJ doubts about the merits of a Sprint/T-Mobile deal.
    • Verizon, for now, is refusing to take part in a price war, and betting its service quality and unmatched 4G coverage will lead its pospaid subs to continue paying a premium.
    • Yesterday: U.S. mobile roundup
    | 15 Comments
  • Mar. 10, 2014, 2:54 PM
    • AT&T (T -0.3%), which unflinchingly stuck with a premium pricing strategy for years, has announced yet another price cut for its Mobile Share plans (previous), as it tries to fend off a share-gaining Verizon and a resurgent T-Mobile.
    • The price of Ma Bell's low-end 2GB Mobile Share plan has been cut by $15/month. The base price for a single user is now $40/month; adding a smartphone via AT&T's Next upgrade plan adds $25/month to the bill. Opting for a traditional phone subsidy/contract instead of Next costs $40/month.
    • T-Mobile (TMUS +0.3%) , meanwhile, has simultaneously increased its data allotments for cheaper postpaid plans - a $50/month plan featuring unlimited voice/text now provides 1GB of data, up from 500MB - and hiked the price of its unlimited data offering by $10 to $80/month.
    • Verizon (VZ -0.5%), which has offered some minor price cuts and promotions lately, insists it won't depart from its premium pricing strategy. CFO Fran Shammo: "We’re not going to buy customers ... You have to earn customers." Shammo also reiterates Verizon's support for subsidies (and with them, service contracts), and says the carrier will take a cautious approach to installment plans.
    • Bloomberg reports SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son, facing regulatory opposition to his plans for a Sprint (S +0.4%) bid for T-Mobile, will shift from arguing a merger is needed combat Verizon/AT&T to arguing a deal will allow Sprint/T-Mobile to act as a last-mile broadband alternative to phone/cable duopolies. Son is due to make a speech tomorrow.
    | 9 Comments
  • Mar. 7, 2014, 9:29 AM
    • Sprint (S) network infrastructure chief Bob Azzi and product development/operations chief Steve Elfman are leaving the company, as SoftBank (SFTBF, SFTBY) continues shaking up the carrier's executive ranks. Ex-Clearwire CTO John Saw has been named Sprint's chief network officer.
    • Sprint's sales and marketing chiefs left last October. A possible factor behind the latest moves: Sprint has seen widespread service quality complaints - Consumer Reports ranked it last among U.S. carriers in 2013 - as it moves aggressively to migrate users to its 4G LTE network.
    • Another potential trigger: Sprint's LTE buildout is slightly behind schedule. The carrier originally planned to offer LTE coverage to 250M POPs by the end of 2013, but later lowered its target to 200M.
    | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 6, 2014, 1:49 PM
    • "I don’t want to insist on [U.S. mobile] consolidation, but I don’t want to rule it out," says Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY, DTEGF) CEO Tim Hoettges.
    • The remarks come after Hoettges reportedly told DT's board he considers a sale of 67%-owned T-Mobile USA (TMUS -1.8%) unlikely in the near-term, given regulatory opposition to a bid from Sprint (S -3.6%) and parent SoftBank (SFTBF, SFTBY).
    • Citing T-Mobile USA's aggressive investments, DT now expects its 2015 free cash flow to only be up "slightly" from 2014 levels. The carrier previously forecast 2015 FCF to rise to €6B ($8.3B) after hitting €4.2B ($5.8B) in 2014.
    • Sources tell Bloomberg Hoettges is now "taking a long-term view in the U.S.," and is focused on converting more of T-Mobile's giant prepaid base into postpaid subs.
    • DT shares fell 3.6% in Frankfurt.  Both T-Mobile and Sprint are selling off in U.S. trading.
    • More on Sprint/T-Mobile
    | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 5, 2014, 4:03 PM
    • Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY, DTEGF) Tim Hoettges says a sale of 67%-owned T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.1%) is unlikely anytime soon. T-Mobile and Sprint (S -0.5%) have both moved moderately lower in response.
    • The WSJ reported yesterday SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son plans to mount a PR campaign to convince skeptical businesses and policy makers regarding the value of a Sprint/T-Mobile merger.
    • Sprint/SoftBank have been widely reported to be lining up financing for a T-Mobile bid.
    | 7 Comments
  • Mar. 4, 2014, 2:02 PM
    • With FCC/DOJ regulators strongly suggesting they'll oppose any attempt by Sprint (S +3.1%) to merge with T-Mobile USA (TMUS +3.6%), SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son "plans to appeal directly to the U.S. business community and policy makers" to convince them the deal would be good for customers, the WSJ reports.
    • Crucial to Son's effort: Convincing his audience Verizon and AT&T currently have a de facto U.S. mobile duopoly, one that Sprint and T-Mobile can't challenge independently.
    • Likely to hurt his cause: T-Mobile is now rapidly adding postpaid subs (after losing them for years) with the help of innovative pricing schemes, and regulators reportedly fear a Sprint merger could affect T-Mobile's "maverick" status within the industry.
    • Sprint and T-Mobile are both outperforming today. Son plans to make a major presentation on March 11 at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.
    • More on Sprint/T-Mobile
    | 5 Comments
  • Feb. 12, 2014, 3:46 PM
    • Japanese tech/telecom giant SoftBank (SFTBF) has reported a 0.8% passive stake in Zynga (ZNGA +2.9%). Shares of the social game developer have rallied in response, and are close to their 52-week high of $4.97.
    • SoftBank's empire includes Sprint (80%-owned), a 37% stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and Japan's third-largest mobile carrier.
    | 3 Comments
  • Feb. 12, 2014, 10:20 AM
    • Deutsche's Brett Feldman has upgraded Sprint (S +1.4%) to Buy following yesterday's Q4 report, albeit while leaving his PT unchanged at $9.25. He cites Sprint's spectrum advantage (presumably a reference to its high-frequency assets following the Clearwire deal), and the carrier's 2-year EBITDA growth outlook.
    • However, Feldman still expects major subscriber losses in 1H14, followed by "a return to modest growth" once Sprint's Network Vision 4G initiative is finished. He's also skeptical a T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.4%) deal will happen in light of regulatory concerns.
    • But while regulators continue signaling their skepticism, SoftBank's (SFTBF) Masayoshi Son appears undeterred in his quest to merge the #3 and #4 U.S. U.S. mobile carriers. Son tells the WSJ it would be "a dream within a dream" to challenge Verizon and AT&T without the scale provided by an acquisition. "I can't settle for No. 3 or No.2. It's my personality."
    • Recent WSJ and Bloomberg reports suggested Sprint/SoftBank are weighing their options in the wake of recent DOJ/FCC comments.
    | 2 Comments
  • Feb. 11, 2014, 9:34 AM
    • Sprint (S +7.2%) saw a net gain of 682K mobile platform subs in seasonally strong Q4 - 58K postpaid, 322K prepaid, 302K wholesale/affiliate. Though that figure is well below Verizon and T-Mobile's Q4 net adds, and moderately below AT&T's, it represents a turnaround from Q3's 95K net loss (includes a loss 360K postpaid subs).
    • The #3 U.S. carrier is also guiding for 2014 adjusted EBITDA of $6.5B-$6.7B, up from a 2013 level of $5.4B and a 2012 level of $4.8B. Q4 adjusted EBITDA margin was 14.5%, up from the year-ago period's 10.3%.
    • Mobile service revenue rose 2% Y/Y to $7.15B, equipment revenue (phone/tablet sales) rose 15% to $1.16B. SG&A spend was nearly flat at $2.44B.
    • Postpaid ARPU was $64.11, down slightly from $64.24 in Q3 and $64.17 a year ago. Postpaid churn rose to 2.07% from 1.99% in Q3 and 1.98% a year ago.
    • Sprint's wireline division saw revenue drop 9% to $859M. Its op. income fell to $23M from $71M.
    • With parent SoftBank (SFTBF) willing to spend aggressively to improve Sprint's 4G coverage, Sprint has set a 2014 capex budget of $8B, up from a 2013 level of $7.5B and a 2012 level of $5.4B.
    • Q4 results, PR
    | 5 Comments
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Company Description
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Sector: Technology
Country: Japan