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SoftBank-Sprint deal not a regulatory slam-dunk

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 16, 2012
Will U.S. regulators balk over Japan-based SoftBank becoming a 70% owner of Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas.?

Redman agreed that "Japan is not China, so this helps" Sprint.

Still, he said that having a single U.S.-owned company among the world's top four carriers "will matter, especially after the issues on the Huawei report. This [involves] critical infrastructure."

Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst said that foreign ownership in telecom mergers is "hardly ever a problem, but last week's news about Huawei and ZTE is fresh on the mind. "

In a lengthy presentation ( download PDF) to investors, Sprint said a combination with SoftBank would create a company with $32 billion in annual mobile revenues, making it the third largest carrier in revenues in the world, behind Verizon Wireless at $37 billion and China Mobile at $43 billion.

The merged entity's sales would be slightly higher that AT&T's, which is also at about $32 billion.

A SoftBank-Sprint entity would have about 96 million subscribers, while AT&T now has 105 million and Verizon Wireless has 111 million. (Sprint alone now has some 56 million subscribers.)

In addition to an $8 billion capital infusion from SoftBank, the combined firm would have complementary smartphone and LTE network strategies, the companies said.

The $20 billion SoftBank investment in Sprint includes $8 billion in capital and $12 billion paid to investors.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse would be CEO of the combined company.



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