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SoftBank shares rise on $1.86 billion debt offering as CEO talks up ‘super’ AI

WorldSoftBank shares rise on $1.86 billion debt offering as CEO talks up 'super' AI

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., speaks during the company’s annual general meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, June 20, 2024. Son sketched out ambitions to help create AI thousands of times smarter than any human, making his most grandiose pronouncements since the Japanese conglomerate began taking steps to shore up its finances following a series of ill-timed startup bets. 

Kosuke Okahara | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SoftBank on Friday announced plans to issue euro and dollar-denominated bonds as it looks to pay down debt and focus its investments on artificial intelligence.

The huge Japanese holding company said it will issue around $900 million in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds in two tranches, and 900 million euros ($962.8 million) worth of bonds, also in two tranches. These will have interest rates ranging from 5.4% to 7% per annum.

SoftBank said the money raised will be used for “repayment of indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.”

Its shares closed up 2.5% after news of the bond issuance.

The raising of money via debt comes as SoftBank’s overall financial losses have begun to narrow as it logs some successes, including the initial public offering of chip designer Arm.

Meanwhile, the company, which runs a massive technology investment arm called the Vision Fund, has also suggested it is looking to ramp up investments in artificial intelligence companies.

In a rare public appearance this month, Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, talked of a concept he called artificial super intelligence, or ASI. He said this refers to AI that is 10,000 times smarter than humans, which he expects to exist within 10 years.

SoftBank is likely looking to capitalize on improving investor sentiment toward the company, highlighted by a 65% year-to-date rise in its shares.

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