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SoftBank Is Discussing a ‘Slow-Burn’ Buyout to Go Private

  • Founder Son has considered the idea of a buyout for many years
  • SoftBank had difficulty getting financing for a deal in March
Masayoshi Son

Masayoshi Son

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
Updated on

SoftBank Group Corp. is debating a new strategy to go private by gradually buying back outstanding shares until founder Masayoshi Son has a big enough stake he can squeeze out the remaining investors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The approach would likely take more than a year and would mean the Japanese company continues to sell assets to fund successive buybacks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plan is private. Son wouldn’t buy more shares himself, but his ownership stake, now about 27%, would increase as other investors sell stock. Under Japanese regulations, Son could compel other shareholders to sell when he gets to 66% ownership, perhaps without paying a premium, the people said.