Friday, October 12, 2012

Softbank in talks to acquire majority stake in Sprint

No. 3 wants a majority stake in No. 3. Softbank, Japan's third-largest wireless carrier, is in advanced talks to acquire a $12.81 billion stake in Sprint, the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S.

Sprint confirmed the discussions on Thursday. Sprint said in a statement,

“Although there can be no assurances that these discussions will result in any transaction or on what terms any transaction may occur, such a transaction could involve a change of control of Sprint. Sprint does not intend to comment further unless and until an agreement is reached.”

The Wall Street Journal valued the deal at $12.81 billion and said the talks were "advanced."

Such a deal would be the second major acquisition for the U.S. telecommunications industry this month. Deutsche Telekom AG last week agreed to merge its T-Mobile USA unit with MetroPCS in a deal that would combine the country's fourth and fifth largest wireless carriers.

Following that announcement, Sprint even said it was planning a counterbid for MetroPCS. Of course, now that proposed deal seems on hold, or even off, with Sprint announcing a hold on the bidding process on Wednesday, before news of the possible Softbank went public.

And, despite no confirmation of the size or value of the deal, investors seemed ready to jump on Sprint stock. Sprint stock was up to $5.73, +0.69‎ or 13.65 percent as of mid-morning, Pacific Time.

Update: Softbank confirmed on Monday it is buying a 70 percent stake in Sprint.

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