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    9984   JP3436100006

SOFTBANK GROUP CORP.

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SoftBank : CEO Son says share buybacks remain an option for firm

06/23/2021 | 12:32am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A journalist raises her hand to ask a question to Japan's SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son during a news conference in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp CEO Masayoshi Son said on Wednesday share buybacks remain an option for the conglomerate, amid a slide in its shares.

"Buybacks are always on my mind as an important option but when and how big requires balanced thinking," Son said at SoftBank's annual shareholders' meeting, adding that the group also needs to consider alternative uses of its capital.

Shares in SoftBank, which completed a record 2.5 trillion yen ($22.6 billion) buyback programme in May, have fallen amid weakness in tech stocks. That has helped widen its conglomerate discount - the gap between the value of its assets and share price - to about 50%.

SoftBank shares were flat at 7,699 yen on Wednesday. Further falls to 7,000-7,500 yen "may increase the expectation of a buyback", Jefferies analyst Atul Goyal wrote in a note earlier this month.

Buybacks would increase 63-year-old Son's own shareholding and make any management buyout easier to achieve.

"I believe our potential is much bigger than the discounted share price," said Son, calling on shareholders to take a long-term view on the company.

The billionaire drew a historical comparison, saying that while credit is given to inventors like 18th century British steam engine pioneer James Watt, the capitalists that funded the railways are overlooked.

"Just as the Rothschilds were a central player in the industrial revolution, we'd like to become the key player in the information revolution," said Son in reference to the prominent European banking dynasty.

He sought to put the focus on SoftBank's role as a "capital provider for the information revolution" backing tech startups around the world but faced repeated questions at the meeting about its plans for repurchases.

"Aren't you going to do more, are you still not doing it, how much will you buy - being so concerned about only this makes me a little sad," Son said.

($1 = 110.7300 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

By Sam Nussey


ę Reuters 2021
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Analyst Recommendations on SOFTBANK GROUP CORP.
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Financials
Sales 2022 6 040 B 54 440 M 54 440 M
Net income 2022 1 310 B 11 806 M 11 806 M
Net Debt 2022 14 983 B 135 B 135 B
P/E ratio 2022 9,10x
Yield 2022 0,66%
Capitalization 11 353 B 103 B 102 B
EV / Sales 2022 4,36x
EV / Sales 2023 4,13x
Nbr of Employees 58 786
Free-Float 69,3%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 15
Last Close Price 6 627,00 JPY
Average target price 10 325,87 JPY
Spread / Average Target 55,8%
EPS Revisions
Managers and Directors
Masayoshi Son Chairman & Executive President
Yoshimitsu Goto CFO, Director & Senior Managing Executive Officer
Raul Marcelo Claure Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President
Tim Mackey Chief Legal Officer & Group Compliance Officer
Masami Iijima Independent Outside Director
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