Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Group Inc. sold 250 billion yen ($1.9 billion) of bonds on Friday, giving the company an important injection of liquidity after it was cut further into junk by S&P Global Ratings last month.
Rakuten sold the two-year notes targeted at individual investors at a yield of 3.3%, saying in a filing that it plans to use the proceeds for its mobile-phone business. It also raised $450 million from a sale this month of dollar-denominated bonds to yield almost 12%.
The company is shoring up cash after racking up billions of dollars of losses over the past two years due to spending on its mobile operations as it takes on dominant players NTT Docomo Inc., SoftBank Corp. and KDDI Corp. Late last year, S&P cut Rakuten’s credit rating to BB from BB+, citing slow improvement in its mobile business and the detrimental impact on the company’s cash flow.
Tokyo-based Rakuten joins issuers including SoftBank Group Corp. and Renault SA that took advantage recently of strong brand recognition and higher ratings by Japanese credit assessors to tap the nation’s huge pool of household savings. Rakuten has an A rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd.