Friday, March 17, 2006

SoftBank Buys Vodafone Japan

After weeks of speculation, the RED HERRING reports that the deed has finally been done. "SoftBank acquired Vodafone’s 97.68 percent stake in Vodafone Japan for ¥1.8 trillion ($15.5 billion) on Friday and Vodafone said it would distribute £6 billion ($10.5 billion) to shareholders. Vodafone will receive approximately £6.8 billion ($11.9 billion) in cash from Tokyo-based SoftBank when the transaction closes."

Gerhard Fasol at Eurotechnology Japan was "optimistic about the deal and believes it will have implications for Yahoo Japan as well." He said, "SoftBank is closely linked to Yahoo Japan, and Yahoo is very, very strong in Japan and has very strong content. SoftBank has also acquired former Japan Telecom’s fixed-line business, and they also lead in broadband. So now SoftBank has become Japan’s No. 3 largest, fully integrated telecom operator and is among the world’s largest universal telecom operators, plus a thriving auction business.”

According to the article, "the transaction will take place through a takeover bid. Under the agreement, SoftBank is obligated to launch a takeover bid for Vodafone Japan and finalize its financing by April 4. If SoftBank fails to the launch the takeover bid by then, it will be obligated to pay damages of ¥60 billion ($517 million). Vodafone expects the transaction to be completed in the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007."