NTT to Take Mobile Unit Docomo Private for $38 Billion, Nikkei Reports

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Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. plans to turn its wireless carrier unit NTT Docomo Inc. into a wholly owned subsidiary through a tender offer that would be Japan’s largest ever, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

The deal will be announced “soon,” the report said, without citing anyone. The deal could be worth 4 trillion yen ($38 billion), based on a 30% premium to the closing price in Tokyo on Monday. That would make it the largest tender offer for a Japanese company in history, according to the Nikkei.

NTT already holds 66.2% of the mobile carrier, which is Japan’s largest. Docomo was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s First Section in 1998 and remains Japan’s sixth biggest company by market value, according to Bloomberg data.

Docomo spokeswoman Saori Yoshimatsu said the company wasn’t the source of the report, and that it had no comment to make at this time.

Newly appointed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has made a reduction in the mobile bills charged by Docomo and Japan’s other major carriers a priority for his new administration. Taking Docomo private will allow NTT to better handle the negative impact of lower mobile bills, the Nikkei said. Shares in Docomo are down more than 9% in Tokyo since previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation.

NTT Docomo depository receipts surged 27% in U.S. trading after the Nikkei report.

— With assistance by Grace Huang, and Jeremy R Cooke

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