Many companies would shy from being lumped alongside indebted Chinese investment groups such as Fosun International Ltd. and HNA Group Co. It’s a comparison that Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. should welcome.
Masayoshi Son’s company is trying to shed its image as a telecom operator. SoftBank’s U.S. carrier Sprint Corp. has agreed to merge with competitor T-Mobile US Inc., leaving the Japanese parent with only a 27 percent stake in the combined firm (Masa had insisted on control in earlier talks). Meanwhile, SoftBank is preparing to list its Japanese wireless unit. That’s come at a cost: To pave the way for the flotation, SoftBank had to alienate Asian private banks that enthusiastically bought into its dollar bond offerings in 2017.