Japanís SoftBank will sell at least $7.9 billion in shares of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to raise capital. Alibabaís largest shareholder, previously owned about 32 percent of the shares, and the transactions will bring its stake down to about 28 percent. The move is expected to help boost liquidity and improve its leverage ratio. The largest chunk will come with the issuance of $5 billion in mandatory exchangeable trust securities convertible into Alibaba shares in three years. SoftBank also plans to sell $2 billion in shares to Alibaba, $400 million to the Alibaba Partnership and $500 million to an unnamed sovereign wealth fund.
Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in April from a year earlier, the second straight month of declines, keeping the central bank under pressure to deploy additional stimulus to achieve its ambitious 2 percent inflation target. The data underscores the fragile nature of Japan's recovery and may give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe justification to delay a scheduled increase in sales tax next year. According to data from the Internal Affairs Ministry, the drop in the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI) that includes energy but excludes volatile fresh food costs, was slightly lesser than a median market forecast for a 0.4 percent fall.
Eight of the top 10 banks in the world are based outside the U.S., according to the most recent rankings from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The biggest American institution, JPMorgan Chase, has fallen down a notch to seventh. Bank of America is the only other U.S. institution in the global top 10. Of the top 20 banks, just four are in U.S., which has only six of the top 50. (Wells Fargo is No. 11, Citigroup is No. 13, Goldman Sachs is No. 28 and Morgan Stanley is No. 38.) By contrast, China occupies the top four slots and 11 of the top 50.
The International Monetary Fund is calling on European creditor nations to commit to "upfront unconditional" debt relief for Greece as part of an international rescue program for the debt-laden nation. The IMF is involved in talks on making Greece's debt sustainable to approve the country's latest reforms and make new loans available.
The SWIFT secure messaging service that underpins international banking plans to launch a new security program as it fights to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the Bangladesh Bank heist. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)'s chief executive, Gottfried Leibbrandt will tell a financial services conference in Brussels that SWIFT will launch a five-point. Banks send payment instructions to one another via SWIFT messages. In February thieves hacked into the SWIFT system of the Bangladesh central bank, sending messages to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York allowing them to steal $81 million.