SoftBank: Set to Sell Most of Its Stake In GungHo

SoftBank Group Corp. announced to sell most of its stake in Japanese game company GungHo Online Entertainment for about 73 billion yen, or roughly $685 million to improve the company’s balance sheet.

GungHo, which is best know for its mobile game “Puzzle & Dragons,” said it plans to buy back the stake through a tender offer for a price of 294 yen a share starting from June 3.

The telecom giant has announced a series of asset sales recently. This move comes a week after the Japanese company announced to sell its stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and raised about $10 billion in total.

SoftBank is also discussing with China’s internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. to sell its majority stake in Supercell Oy, which is best known for its game “Clash of Clans”, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move to sell asset is to improve the company’s balance sheet. The Japanese company had borrowed heavily to finance its acquisitions to transform itself from a computer software distributor into a global technology giant. The company’s debt grew to a record 11.9 trillion yen over the past two years.

“The purpose of the Alibaba share sale is to enhance our financial profile and the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes,” said Hiroe Kotera, SoftBank’s spokeswoman. “The sale of GungHo shares is part of our long-term push to become a global enterprise.”

SoftBank’s shares rose 1.2 percent to close at 6,093 yen in Tokyo. GungHo’s share rose 2 percent to 308 yen.

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