SoftBank May Make Bid for Sprint Nextel
According to a report by Japan's national television broadcaster, NHK (Japanese only), Japanese mobile telecommunications carrier SoftBank (OTC: SFTBY) is considering the acquisition of Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S). The NHK report cited “unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.”
The NHK report states that SoftBank is in talks with Sprint Nextel to acquire two-thirds of the shares outstanding. The deal, if completed, would be worth more than one trillion yen ($12.8 billion).
The NHK report states that SoftBank wants to take advantage of the rapid diffusion of smartphones globally by expanding its mobile telecommunications network outside of Japan. If SoftBank is able to acquire a controlling interest in Sprint Nextel's U.S. network and 56 million subscribers, it would propel the company into a global player in mobile telecommunications with a total of more than 90 million subscribers worldwide.
Sprint Nextel and SoftBank have similar strategies in mobile telecommunications. Both offer the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and have installed LTE for their 4G networks. SoftBank wants to take advantage of the historically strong Japanese yen to expand its mobile business into the United States.
SoftBank recently acquired another Japan's number four mobile telecommunications company, eAccess, to become the number two mobile carrier in Japan, showing management's aggressive expansion plans.
There has been no comment on the NHK story from SoftBank yet. Reuters has picked up the story but, so far, only has the headline in English.
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