Japanese wireless provider SoftBank in talks to acquire Sprint NextelBy Shawn Knight
Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation SoftBank is reportedly in advanced talks to purchase Sprint Nextel. The deal, said to be valued at nearly $13 billion, could be just what the struggling wireless provider needs to help finance what the NY Times calls a turnaround effort.
SoftBank is the second largest mobile phone provider in Japan. The firm has over 34 million subscribers following a recent acquisition of rival eAccess. That buyout took place on October 1 as part of a $2.3 billion stock-swap deal.
An acquisition of Sprint would allow the Japanese company to enter the US market in a serious way and would be one of the largest transactions in SoftBank history.
If the two companies decide to do business, it would be the second high-profile wireless deal in the US this month. Deutsche Telekom agreed to buy regional carrier MetroPCS with plans to merge it with T-Mobile. For their efforts, MetroPCS is to receive $1.5 billion in cash and a 26 percent stake in the combined company.
Sprint is the third largest wireless provider in the US with 56 million subscribers. Even after the MetroPCS acquisition, T-Mobile will still be ranked fourth at just 42.5 million customers.
A person briefed on the matter told the paper that a transaction could be announced soon. As of writing, SoftBank is downplaying the report. A statement issued earlier today says the story is based on speculation and they have not announced anything. Sprint is also declining to comment at this hour.