|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||6.81 - 6.81|
|52 Week Range||2.85 - 7.48|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.00|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||35.65|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Mar 28, 2018|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. is changing the lineup for its annual corporate conference this year, adding top executives from companies like Microsoft Corp. and curtailing the number of leaders from its own portfolio companies.SoftBank World, which usually takes place in July, was pushed back this year because of the coronavirus pandemic to late October. The chief executive officers of Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp., Adobe Inc. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. are scheduled to participate, according to a notice posted online.Founder Masayoshi Son has used the forum in recent years to showcase founders from startups he has invested in. Among the 2019 speakers, for example, were Oyo’s Ritesh Agarwal, Grab’s Anthony Tan and Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma.SoftBank’s startup investments have run into trouble in the past year, with writedowns at WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. leading to a record loss in the last fiscal year. Son has more recently pivoted to asset management and stock options trading.Read more: SoftBank’s Big Options Bet Tests Investor Faith in Masayoshi SonSoftBank World will feature some of Son’s investments. Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack Technologies Inc., is scheduled to speak, along with the chiefs of Yahoo Japan and PayPay.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp.’s plan to buy out its NTT Docomo Inc. wireless unit would mark the end of an era for a company once hailed as the world’s leading mobile operator. It also signals a stark new reality in the telco business: that mere connectivity isn’t enough.Docomo said its board will meet Tuesday to consider NTT’s proposal. That seems moot: The parent already owns 66% of the subsidiary. It’s likely to offer 30% more than the share price at yesterday’s close, the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier. That would be at the upper end of average premiums globally for telco deals valued at more than $5 billion in the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Still, it’s worth noting that prior to the news Docomo had fallen 20% below its March high and is well below its 50-, 90- and 200-day averages.This month’s appointment of Yoshihide Suga as Japanese prime minister to succeed Shinzo Abe may have been a spur. Suga had been an outspoken critic of mobile data pricing before taking over the top job, and now forcing down tariffs has become an easy policy win. Going private would take Docomo out of the public spotlight as it renovates its business model and weathers that storm.Docomo’s struggle was apparent even before Suga rose to the top. More than two decades ago, it amazed the world with the release of i-Mode, a mobile internet service that allowed Japanese consumers to read email and surf the web during their morning commute. Apple Inc.’s first iPhone wouldn’t arrive for another eight years.I-Mode helped Docomo post annual revenue growth reaching as much as 26% and operating income gains of 42%, cementing its place as Japan’s No. 1 wireless carrier. While the company has held onto that position, it has done so by cutting average revenue per user below levels at KDDI Corp. or Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Corp., the first telco in Japan to sell the iPhone.Price wars with those rivals have hurt, even amid accusations that rates remain too high by global comparison. Docomo has maintained a respectable operating margin of around 20% in recent years (it dropped to 18.4% for the year to March 30 amid the Covid pandemic). Revenue and operating income growth have slowed to a crawl, though, lagging behind competitors. The reasons can be seen in its sales breakdown, with 80% still coming from mobile services. By comparison, SoftBank owns Yahoo Japan (via a subsidiary) and gets additional revenue from fixed-line businesses. Consumer and enterprise wireless service accounts for only about half of SoftBank’s sales. KDDI isn’t quite as diversified, yet it’s able to lean a little more on non-telecom businesses and is pushing its so-called “life design” services that include e-commerce, personal finance, entertainment and education.Then there’s Rakuten Inc., which recently entered the mobile business and promises to drive prices down even further. It’s doubtful whether the e-commerce company intends to make much profit from its wireless unit, instead using it as a loss-leader to drive online retail and related services. That leaves Docomo looking pedestrian as a purveyor of mobile connectivity, aka dumb pipes, like the former state-owned incumbent that it is. With the onerous costs of a 5G rollout looming and a price war set to escalate, the safest place may be back under the protection of its majority owner. Investors need not worry about NTT having to shield its subsidiary from public markets. A combined entity could leverage procurement, better integrate infrastructure and services, and streamline its balance sheet. Once the business is stabilized and profit growth returns, look for NTT to be the biggest winner from a future Docomo initial public offering. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Mercari Inc. wants to become the top provider of mobile payments in Japan even as its biggest rivals join forces, but that ambition is second to making the business profitable.The company’s immediate focus is on improving profitability and expanding the lineup of merchants that accept payments using its Merpay service, founder and Chief Executive Officer Shintaro Yamada said in an interview. Mercari, whose second-hand market app is used by over 17 million people each month in Japan, is in no rush to compete for users with Line Corp. and SoftBank Group Corp.-backed PayPay, Yamada said.Mobile payment competition is heating up in Japan, where the government has been trying to reduce the dominance of banknotes and coins. Line, the operator of Japan’s biggest messaging service, and e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. had an early start in payments, followed by PayPay and then Mercari. PayPay -- backed by SoftBank, Yahoo Japan and India’s Paytm -- took the lead by sparking a shopping frenzy with 10 billion yen ($95 million) in rebates on purchases. Now SoftBank is looking to combine Yahoo Japan with Line, while Mercari has partnered with NTT Docomo Inc., the country’s dominant wireless carrier with its own payment business.“This doesn’t have to be a winner-takes-all market. There is no reason why it can’t be more like credit cards, where no one company controls it all,” Yamada said. “But if we are talking end-game, eventually, we want to beat the current No. 1 -- PayPay.”Read more: Digital Money Thefts Deal Setback to Japan’s Cashless DrivePayPay counts over 30 million registered customers and will soon gain access to 84 million Japanese users on Line’s messaging service. Merpay, launched in February 2019, has more than 7 million monthly active users and is accepted at more than 1.6 million stores. While Mercari’s user base is smaller, it has an advantage in payments because many of its customers already hold a cash balance as the result of selling goods on its app. The company, which reported a 22.8 billion yen loss for the year ended June, has said it aims to make Merpay profitable after the year ending June 2021.“We have the beginnings of a business that can be tremendously profitable in the future,” Yamada said. “For now, instead of expanding our user base, we are focusing on increasing profitability and synergies with the main business.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.