rakuten: Embattled Japanese fintech firm Rakuten announces $2.5 billion share issue to bolster finances


Japanese e-commerce and fintech firm Rakuten Group Inc said on Tuesday it aimed to raise up to 332 billion yen ($2.46 billion) by issuing new shares on the market as well as to founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.

Shares in the company lost 5.1% on Tuesday ahead of Rakuten’s announcement, extending the previous day’s sharp slide after Reuters reported the plan, aimed at shoring up its finances after years of losses from its mobile business.

Rakuten said in a statement it aimed to raise about 290 billion yen via a public offering and another 41.8 billion yen allocated to Mikitani, his asset management firm, CyberAgent Inc and Tokyu Corp.

Prospects of a share dilution led on Monday to the stock’s biggest one-day drop in three years. Rakuten’s market capitalisation has fallen about $1.6 billion since the Reuters report.

“Whenever there is a large sale of new equity, that is dilutive but it also forces decisions about whether to hold. Some will be upset and will sell,” said analyst Travis Lundy of Quiddity Advisors, who publishes on Smartkarma.

Rakuten said it would use the funds for debt repayment and to build base stations.

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The company last week posted a quarterly loss and said it would sell its stake in supermarket chain Seiyu to U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co Inc for 22 billion yen, just three years after agreeing to buy the shares from Walmart Inc. That followed an initial public offering last month of its banking unit, while the company also plans to list its brokerage arm.

($1 = 135.0500 yen)

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