SoftBank has agreed to buy a 100% stake in Willcom Inc, pending court approval of Willcom’s rehabilitation plan. http://bit.ly/anQkWe
This news has been sometime coming, as was noted here last year, and with the collapse of Willcom in Feb. 2010 the re-structure seems to finally be in place. While SBM would benefit from adding some 4M subscribers, we’d suggest the license for next-generation wireless broadband granted to Willcom by the Ministry in late 2007 was also a key consideration for the #3 player.
For those paying closer attention, this move was clearly coming for some time, the recent appointment of Ken Miyauchi to become President of Willcom (see below) as recently reported by the Telecom Paper was a clear signal the deal had been sealed.
Japanese operator Softbank’s director Ken Miyauchi will become president of PHS provider Willcom, which is undergoing court-led restructuring with assistance from Softbank, reports the Nikkei. Miyauchi is also the senior executive vice president and COO of Softbank Mobile. Willcom is expected to say in its rehabilitation plan to be submitted to the Tokyo District Court on 14 October that the Softbank group will accommodate any Willcom employee who becomes redundant. In line with an initial plan created by the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative of Japan and Softbank, Willcom will reduce its capital to zero and Advantage Partners will provide JPY 300 million in capital. The investment fund will then sell all its shares in Willcom to Softbank for JPY 300 million, making it a wholly-owned Softbank subsidiary. Willcom owes financial institutions and leasing companies about JPY 41 billion in total. The debts will be repaid in level installments over the next six years. If Willcom runs short of working funds, Softbank will provide loans. Willcom had planned to reduce its workforce by some 230 people. But it scrapped the plan because about 100 workers have left the company since it began the rehabilitation process.