Softbank plans $4.4 billion share buyback
Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank has announced its largest ever stock buyback of about $4.4 billion.
This repurchase of common stock follows an August 2015 buyback of about $1 billion, done by CEO Masayoshi Son to buttress its flagging stock and to suggest confidence in its $21.6 billion acquisition of a controlling interest Sprint in 2013.
Since Softbank acquired Sprint (S), the wireless provider has fallen to the No. 4 spot behind T-Mobile, and has seen its shares fall nearly 70% to close at $2.66 on Friday.
Softbank is also being hit by its 32% stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba (BABA), which has seen its U.S. stock fall 30% over the last year to $60.89. Meanwhile, Softbank has seen its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fall to its lowest level in two years and its U.S. shares (SFTBY) have fallen more than 35% to $19.12 over that time.
Before the announcement, Softbank shares in Japan rose more than 5% as part of a rally in Japanese and European markets.
“Considering the current share price level, we deemed this a good timing to pay back shareholders,” Softbank spokeswoman Hiroe Kotera told Bloomberg.