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Softbank eyes £13bn listing for its mobile business

Softbank is considering listing its mobile phone unit in Tokyo and possibly London this year, the Nikkei newspaper has reported.

The Japanese telecoms giant is reportedly looking to sell around 30 per cent of the division for 2 trillion yen (£13.1bn), while retaining the remaining stake.

It could become one of Japan’s biggest initial public offerings to date, rivalling Nippon Telegraph and Telephone’s IPO in 1987.

Softbank Group said in a statement it was considering the IPO, but added that “no decision has been made to officially proceed with this course”.

The Nikkei reported that the London Stock Exchange was attractive as an overseas option for Softbank because it is home to its Vision Fund and the brand is well known in the city.

Softbank has made a string of high profile investments in recent years and reportedly plans to make further investments with the funds raised by the IPO.

The firm made waves in the UK in 2016 when it bought Cambridge tech firm ARM Holdings for £24bn. It has since invested in a number of ride-sharing apps including the Chinese service Didi Chuxing and Grab, an app popular in Southeast Asia. In December, Uber shareholders agreed to sell a large stake to Softbank.