Japan SoftBank mobile unit marks record IPO but market debut flops
Tokyo: Japanese technology giant SoftBank celebrated the world's second-biggest IPO for its mobile unit Wednesday but the newly traded shares endured a torrid time in their debut session, plunging nearly 15 percent.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed it had raised around 2.65 trillion yen ( 23.5 billion) via the unit's IPO, making it Japan's largest and the biggest globally since Alibaba went public in 2014.
But at the opening bell, the stock was already trading at 1,463 yen, significantly under the initial offer price of 1,500 yen per share, and headed lower from there. The firm finished at 1,282 yen, down 14.5 percent from the IPO price with heavy selling into the close. Ken Miyauchi, CEO of the SoftBank Corp mobile division, acknowledged it was "unfortunate that the share price ended down". "But this is only the begining. Many things will happen. We are off to a tough start of our journey... but I see this as a new start for our business," Miyauchi told reporters. Analysts said the IPO had not come at a particularly good time for SoftBank Corp, as global markets have been suffering in recent months and Japanese lawmakers are taking aim at what they see as mobile operators' overly high prices.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.6 percent while the broader Topix index was down 0.4 percent.
Other market players said tepid demand was not helped by an embarrassing episode earlier this month when a technical glitch left tens of millions of customers of SoftBank and British mobile operator O2 unable to access data.