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Japan's Softbank offers to buy 70 percent of US operator Sprint for US$20 billion

Jay Alabaster | Oct. 15, 2012
Japan's Softbank said Monday it has reached a deal to acquire a 70 percent stake in U.S. mobile operator Sprint Nextel for US$20 billion, forming one of the world's largest telecom operators.

It was also the first of Japan's big three operators to embrace smartphones, and made another successful gamble in agreeing to Apple's strict purchasing and profit-sharing requirements to become Japan's exclusive iPhone provider until last year. Since entering the mobile business in April of 2006, Softbank has over doubled its subscriber base to 30 million, a period in which the Japan's overall number of subscribers has increased only 40 percent.

Softbank remains Japan's third-largest mobile carrier, but earlier this month announced it has agreed to acquire smaller domestic rival eAccess, which could vault it to number two in terms of subscriber contracts.

Rumors of a deal have been swirling since last week, when the companies said they were in negotiations after a host of news reports said Softbank would soon take a significant share of Sprint.

 

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