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Softbank to Cut Bridge Loan Amount for Sprint After Bond Sales

Softbank Corp., the Japanese carrier buying 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp. for about $20 billion, plans to reduce the maximum amount of the bridge loan used for the acquisition after a bond sale.

Japan’s third-largest mobile phone operator will lower the loan amount to 1.28 trillion yen ($13 billion) from 1.65 trillion yen announced in December, according to a filing to the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. The Tokyo-based company raised 370 billion yen in bonds this month, including 300 billion yen of 1.47 percent notes due March 2017 for retail investors, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The country’s three megabanks -- Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. -- are the loan’s mandated lead arrangers, along with Deutsche Bank AG, according to the Dec. 17 statement. The facility was split into two parts, with the 250 billion yen portion of the loan drawn down on Dec. 21 and the remainder at the time of the Sprint acquisition, it said.

“The company succeeded in raising more than expected from the bond sale,” said Nobumasa Mizutani, the chief investment adviser at Japan Credit Advisory Co., a hedge-fund advisory firm in Tokyo. “This brings Softbank’s direct and indirect financing to a better balance.”

Softbank is ranked A by JCR, the credit-rating company’s sixth-highest investment grade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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