Billionaire Tadashi Yanai’s Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo apparel brand, is preparing to sell as much as 250 billion yen ($2 billion) of bonds next week in its first public debt offering. The company began marketing about 100 billion yen ($81 million) of five-year notes at 25 to 31 basis points over Japanese government debt Friday, according to a person familiar with the deal. Asia’s largest clothing retailer, which is currently ranked fourth in terms of total sales in the industry, falling behind Inditex, Hennes & Mauritz and Gap, is also marketing about 30 billion yen ($24 million) each in three-year, seven-year and 10-year bonds for sale late next week. The size of the whole deal is currently capped at 250 billion yen ($2 billion), the person said.
A 250 billion yen sale would be the biggest public offering to domestic institutional investors by a Japanese company in the fiscal year beginning April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Fast Retailing, which has been shifting its focus from purely fast fashion, a model that Yanai’s insists it is not associated with, to one that is more heavily influenced by high fashion (as indicated by a number of high fashion collaborations, such as those with Jil Sander and former HERMÈS creative director, Christophe Lemaire), reported a decline in Japanese same-store sales last month as “unusually hot weather” stifled sales of winter clothing. The company’s stock fell as much as 3.4 percent Friday in Tokyo and marked its biggest weekly drop since the five days ended Sept. 4.
Nomura Holdings Inc. said in a statement Nov. 27 that it was co-managing a bond deal for as much as 250 billion yen for Fast Retailing, together with securities units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.