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UPDATE 1-S&P revises SoftBank outlook to stable as rating agencies diverge

(Adds details of outlook)

TOKYO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - S&P Global Ratings said on Tuesday it has revised SoftBank Group Corp’s outlook to stable from negative in a vote of confidence in the conglomerate after it sold down assets following a series of missteps.

SoftBank’s “aggressive growth strategy and financial policy are unlikely to erode its creditworthiness materially in the next one to two years,” said S&P, which affirmed SoftBank’s long-term issuer credit rating at BB+.

The conglomerate has monetised assets including its stake in Alibaba Group, building its cash reserves as a buffer during the COVID-19 pandemic and as dry powder for its tech investing.

S&P’s brightening outlook for the group, whose portfolio companies are benefiting from demand for listings in frothy markets, contrasts with peer Moody’s Investors Service, which has a negative outlook on the group.

SoftBank contests Moody’s analysis, which points to the complexity of the group’s balance sheet, and has requested the rating agency remove its rating.

Reporting by Sam Nussey, editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan

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