Softbank’s New Strategy: The Largest LBO in Japan

Case Solution

Mitsuru Misawa
University of Hong Kong ()

On March 17, 2006, the Japanese Internet company Softbank Corp announced that it had signed a definitive agreement with the British mobile phone giant Vodafone Group Plc to buy its Japanese unit Vodafone K.K. for ¬ • 1.75 trillion. To fund the largest acquisition of all time by a Japanese company, Softbank intended to raise funds of between € 1.1 trillion and € 1.2 trillion through leveraged buy-out (“LBO”) , with the assets of Vodafone KK to be used as collateral. With the acquisition of Vodafone K.K. Softbank wanted to build a multi-stakeholder communications business and integrate news, video, and other online content with Vodafone’s wireless and landline services. But first, Softbank had to borrow between € 1.1 trillion and € 1.2 trillion to finance the purchase. The sum was the largest ever raised for an acquisition by a single Japanese company.

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