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Japan's Rakuten to raise up to $433 million with further sale of bank unit

Published 12/06/2023, 02:47 AM
Updated 12/06/2023, 05:16 AM
© Reuters.  The logo of Rakuten is pictured in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, Aug 2, 2023. REUTERS/Miho Uranaka/File Photo

By Anton Bridge

TOKYO (Reuters) -Rakuten Group said on Wednesday it plans to sell a large stake in Rakuten Bank to overseas investors, its latest fundraising effort as the Japanese company grapples with heavy debt and losses at its mobile network unit.

The planned sale of 25.5 million shares is equivalent to just under 15% of the online bank, according to LSEG data.

The shares will be priced at between 2,400 and 2,500 yen each, according to a source, comprising a discount of 8.7%-12.3% on Wednesday's closing price of 2,738 yen and raising a maximum of 63.8 billion yen ($433 million).

The e-commerce and financial services group said it would use the proceeds to repay bonds early as it was committed to reducing interest-bearing debt. Hit by spiralling costs to build out its mobile network, it has almost 800 billion yen ($5.4 billion) in bond redemptions due before the end of 2025.

The unit's troubles have also resulted in Rakuten logging 13 consecutive quarters of operating losses.

Since 2021, Rakuten has issued new shares to strategic investors and the public, twice sold down its holding in its securities arm Rakuten Securities, and listed Rakuten Bank in April of this year.

The listing raised 72 billion yen and reduced Rakuten's holding in the bank to 63.3%.

The price of the shares will be determined after a book building period between Dec. 6 and 7, Rakuten Bank said in a separate statement.

© Reuters.  The logo of Rakuten is pictured in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, Aug 2, 2023. REUTERS/Miho Uranaka/File Photo

Analysts predict Rakuten may soon seek to list its credit card business Rakuten Card, which includes the group's lucrative points and payments system.

($1 = 147.2500 yen)

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