Rakuten Group prices Rakuten Bank shares at 2,470 yen in $412 million overseas sale

By Anton Bridge

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s Rakuten Group said on Thursday it set a price of 2,470 yen per share in a planned overseas sale of 24.5 million shares of Rakuten Bank worth 60.6 billion yen ($411.9 million).

The e-commerce and fintech giant announced on Wednesday it would sell nearly 15% of the online bank unit, its latest effort to contend with heavy debt and losses at its mobile network business.

Rakuten Bank’s shares fell 9% in morning trading on Thursday.

Rakuten said it would use the proceeds to repay bonds early as it was committed to reducing interest-bearing debt.

Hit by spiralling costs to build out its mobile network, it has almost 800 billion yen in bond redemptions due before the end of 2025.

Rakuten has said it is prioritising equity-related financing to shore up its finances.

Rakuten Bank was listed in April this year, netting Rakuten Group 72 billion yen and reducing the parent company’s holding to 63.3%. With this latest offering, Rakuten’s holding will drop below 50%.

Since 2021, Rakuten has issued new shares to strategic investors and the public and twice sold down its holding in its securities arm Rakuten Securities.

Analysts predict Rakuten may soon seek to list its credit card business Rakuten Card, which includes the group’s lucrative points and payments system.

($1 = 147.1100 yen)

(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Anton Bridge; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Stephen Coates)