London could be a big beneficiary of a decision by Softbank Group, of Japan, to list its domestic telecoms unit. A mobile phone IPO would allow those investors to get the business - and dividends - they want, while technology investors focused on growth could buy into SoftBank Group and its startup investments. It did not specify where it would seek a listing, but it is thought to be aiming to list this autumn in Tokyo and overseas, with London a leading contender.
SoftBank's early-stage, $20 million investment in Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd was a bet that paid off spectacularly and helped cement Son's reputation. Uber, where SoftBank has picked up a 15% stake recently, is fighting with Ola in India. But it's not always clear when SoftBank cuts a deal itself and when the fund does - and how much of each startup it owns. Since the start of 2018, the Vision Fund has invested an additional $7.7 billion in Uber and $4.6 billion in Didi Chuxing, bringing the value of investments up to the $40 billion market.
The announcement comes almost a month after SoftBank said it was considering listing the business, with local media estimating the proceeds at $18 billion - potentially the biggest IPO by a Japanese company in nearly two decades.
No one believed that the Vision Fund would raise its mammoth monetary target, let alone be able to meet its investment targets. SoftBank also took a stake of just less than 5 percent in chipmaker Nvidia Corp. last year, which would be worth more than $6 billion at current prices.
The separation of SoftBank's activities, essentially into investing and telecommunications arms, will bring "greater clarity and thereby better respond to the various needs of investors", SoftBank said on Wednesday.
Such sales would give Son more money for shareholder returns.
SoftBank's last buyback was in February 2016, when it announced plans to spend as much as ¥500 billion to acquire about 14 percent of its shares.
And he is showing no sign of slowing down.
A finance industry source said Swiss Re had always been looking for an anchor shareholder who would recognise the full value of the company.
One such company he mentioned is Wag, a US venture that connects dog owners with dog walkers online, which Son called the "dog version of Uber".