Softbank in talks to buy stake in Swiss Re

SoftBank shares fell less than 1% in early trade in Tokyo on Thursday

SoftBank shares fell less than 1% in early trade in Tokyo on Thursday

The company added that the negotiations are at a "very early stage".

Softbank has raised eyebrows after a confirmation it is in talks with Swiss Re about taking a minority stake in the insurance behemoth.

The report, citing sources familiar with the matter, said the deal under discussion was for the purchase of up to a third of Swiss Re's shares at a premium.

This latest potential investment for Softbank comes as the Japanese company is working to further diversify its growth plans. SoftBank stock closed up 1 percent.

Such a deal would make SoftBank the largest investor in the reinsurance group at a time when chief executive Masayoshi Son is moving to transform the telecoms company he founded into one of the world's largest technology investors. The billionaire has been racking up a dizzying array of investments over the past year as he reshapes Japan's largest mobile-phone carrier and majority owner of Sprint Corp. into a force in the technology world.

"A major shareholder is like a quality stamp for the company", the person said.


The companies were not immediately available for comment.

The purchase of a stake in Swiss Re would be the latest in a constant stream of investments that have made valuing SoftBank hard and left a "conglomerate discount" weighing on its share price.

Even so, reinsurance has remained attractive to big-money investors. Hedge-fund managers from David Einhorn to Dan Loeb have also started reinsurers in recent years.

The Swiss company sells insurance to insurers, which fits with Softbank's previous investments in ride-sharing companies like Uber and some of its global rivals, Didi Chuxing, Ola and Grab.

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