Japan’s Softbank reportedly in talks to acquire Sprint in $12.8 billion deal

Japan’s Softbank reportedly in talks to acquire Sprint in $12.8 billion deal

US operator Sprint has become the subject of acquisition rumours, after it was revealed that Japanese carrier Softbank is in talks with the company to acquire it for more than 1 trillion yen ($12.8 billion).

According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, Softbank has engaged in talks with Sprint to purchase two-thirds of the US carrier, little more than a week after Japan’s third largest operator agreed a deal to buy smaller rival eAccess in a deal worth $1.84 billion.

Softbank has actively been looking to increase its bandwidth and boost its LTE service domestically, buying eAccess to overtake second-placed KDDI on customer numbers.

In the US, Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint would better equip it to compete with its bigger rivals in AT&T and Verizon, while solidifying its market position in the wake of the T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS $1.5 billion merger.

NHK believes the Sprint deal will also lower Softbank’s purchasing costs of smartphones and other mobile devices.

UPDATE: All Things D reports that Sprint Nextel confirms that it is in negotiations regarding a “substantial investment by SoftBank.” It confirmed that the deal may result in an acquisition: “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.”

Image Credit: Scott Olson/Getty

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