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SoftBank Corp’s massive debut-day slump pulls down Tokyo market

SoftBank Corp, the telecommunications unit of SoftBank Group Corp, closed down 14.5% on its first trading day at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The debut-day disaster also weighed on its parent company, which lost 0.9%, as well as the broader Tokyo market, which edged down 0.4%.

SoftBank Corp is the third-largest network provider in Japan by subscriber count, and traders were primarily concerned by a nationwide four-hour service outage that occurred earlier this month. The company had publically apologized for the following the incident.

Traders were also troubled by the company’s exposure to Chinese hardware supplier Huawei, which faces allegations of a security threat from the United States. SoftBank Corp is reportedly in talks with other hardware suppliers to replace Huawei’s 4G equipment. But reaching an agreement with a new supplier is likely to take its time.

The $23.5-billion IPO was the second largest international listing after Alibaba Group (BABA), which raised $25 billion from its 2014 US listing. SoftBank issued close to 2 billion shares, which included an extra 160 million shares, which were issued due to strong investor demand. About 80% of the shares were offered to domestic retail investors.

A look at some of SoftBank’s major investments

In a news conference on Wednesday, SoftBank CEO Ken Miyauchi said, “A lot of things happened. But we had been planning and there was no need to withdraw. I truly see a mountain of business opportunities. We would rather focus our energy on that.” He also promised shareholder returns to its investors.

 

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