Friday, November 24, 2006

Goldman Sachs quit Softbank Financing - eMobile?

The FT reported on Wednesday that Goldman Sachs have withdrawn from the Y1,450bn ($12.4bn) refinancing for Softbank’s acquisition of Vodafone Japan. The article says that Goldman wouldn't commment on the reason for the withdrawl and the FT claims analysts believe GS has some misgivings about the term of loan, supported by revenues from the mobile arm.
abigidea? reckons that something is up here, and the reason for the withdrawl may be something to do with Goldmans recent investment in Sachio Semmoto's new mobile venture, eMobile. Admittedly, I'm not too familiar with Japanese corporate governance but I would suspect that providing significant equity funding to eMobile (GS holds approximately 25% of eMobile) while at the same time providing significant debt facilities to one of its major competitors may be deemed a classic conflict of interest.
Dr Semmoto, the legendary Japanese entrepreneur behind KDDI and eAccess has now got his sights set on the mobile sector and is using eMobile as his vehicle for disrupting the Japanese market in a similar fashion to what he did with fixed telecoms (KDDI) and broadband internet access (eAccess). A recent article in Red Herring revealed that eMobile is building out its own next generation wireless network and has recently signed a roaming agreement with NTTDoCoMo to provide gapfill until the network is complete. A data-only offering is expected in March 2007 with nationwide voice services scheduled for March 2008.

Further info:
eMobile corporate profile

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