Exclusive-SoftBank considering U.S. listing for PayPay payments business- sources

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Exclusive-SoftBank considering U.S. listing for PayPay payments business- sources © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: PayPay app leaflets are displayed at the rice dealer’s shop Mikawaya, in Tokyo, Japan June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Sam Nussey

By Sam Nussey and Miho Uranaka

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank is considering a U.S. listing for its PayPay payments business, three sources familiar with the matter said, in what could mark another American listing for Masayoshi Son’s sprawling tech conglomerate along with chip designer Arm.

New York is seen as a more attractive destination than Tokyo given the higher valuations tech companies generally achieve, one of the sources said. The timing of the listing was still unclear as money-losing PayPay needs to first demonstrate a clear path to profitability, the source said.

SoftBank has previously expressed an aim to list PayPay, with one executive saying in November it was worth just under 1 trillion yen ($7.17 billion). That the conglomerate is considering a U.S. listing has not been previously reported.

All of the sources declined to be identified as the information is not public.

Representatives for PayPay and SoftBank Group’s domestic telecoms business, SoftBank Corp, said they did not comment on speculation. PayPay is owned by SoftBank Corp, its internet business, Z Holdings, and the group’s second Vision Fund.

SoftBank founder Son recently pledged to shift to “offence mode” amid rising global interest and investment in artificial intelligence. He been playing defence for some time, curbing investment after the tech sell-off hit the value of portfolio companies hard.

PayPay, which offers QR code payment services, is used by more than 55 million people in Japan, making it a top player in a crowded digital payments market.

It has benefited from a government-backed effort to encourage consumers to shift towards digital away from cash and grew quickly by offering aggressive rebates.

SoftBank is planning an initial public offering for Cambridge, England-based chip designer Arm in the U.S. as it looks to raise funds following the slump in tech valuations.

($1 = 139.5500 yen)

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