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SoftBank Is Said to Plan Making Direct Offer for Charter

  • Billionaire Son said to consider new deal after merger spurned
  • Charter said it’s not interested in acquiring Sprint

Masayoshi Son, the chairman of Japanese technology goliath SoftBank Group Corp., wants in on the U.S. cable market. And he appears determined to use Charter Communications Inc. to get him there, one way or another.

Son’s initial gambit failed: Charter on Sunday rebuffed his proposal to combine the company with Sprint Corp., which SoftBank controls. Undeterred, the Japanese billionaire is now mustering an offer from SoftBank to buy Charter outright, according to a person with knowledge of his plans. He intends to make the offer this week, the person said, asking not to be identified ahead of a public announcement.

Bidding for Charter, which has a market value of $101 billion, would mark the most ambitious target yet for Son, whose deal spree has made SoftBank one of the most debt-laden companies in Japan. While an early bet on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has delivered outsized returns, Sprint has lost billions since he bought control in 2013 while the Japanese company’s investments in India have been largely written off.

“Son is going back to his bad old days of wanting to conquer the world, just as we thought he was becoming more sensible,” said Amir Anvarzadeh, head of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. in Singapore.“It does sound as if they’re doing anything but de-leveraging. They’re re-leveraging.”

The plan for Charter isn’t complete and could change, the person familiar with the matter said.

Shares of SoftBank fell 2.3 percent in Tokyo, giving the company a market value of $89 billion. The company also has debt of 14.9 trillion yen ($135 billion), making it the second-most indebted non-financial...