Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tidying up

I was wondering the other day what Vodaphone and Toshiba were thinking when they hired Kōda Kumi to sell their new mobile phones.

It seems that Vodaphone was thinking, "Now please lend us some money."

An amazing amount of money:

Softbank Seeks Record $12 Bln Financing for Vodafone

July 21 -- Softbank Corp. plans to borrow 1.4 trillion yen ($12 billion) in Japan's biggest asset-backed loan to refinance debt used to acquire the local mobile-phone unit of Vodafone Group Plc, people involved in the transaction said.

Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are leading negotiations to replace a 1.28 trillion yen one- year loan with longer-term financing, said three people who asked not to be identified until a deal is signed. Softbank has agreed to set aside revenue from phone customers in a separate unit to cover repayment, they said.

Billionaire Masayoshi Son, who founded Softbank in 1981, is seeking to reassure investors who are concerned a slump in profit at the phone unit would make it harder to obtain longer-term funding. Shares in the Tokyo-based company fell 33 percent since the takeover was announced in March and yields on its five-year bonds doubled this year.

If you have 1.4 trillion yen, say around the house doing nothing important, you might want hurry. Son needs the money kind of soon because...well..because of this.

Do it or else in their next ad, they will have Kōda-san push the envelope even further.

Of course, I was also wondering the other day whether Hamlet Prince of Gunma was really going to drink hot blood and taking up arms against the King, or whether he was going to just going to shuffle off this mortal coil with a typically sardonic, supercilious answer to The Question.

On Friday, we found out.

He ain't gonna be.

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