The SoftBank Corporation of Japan has agreed to purchase a seventy percent stake in the Sprint-Nextel Corporation for about $20.1 billion dollars. The deal, which is expected to give Sprint an infusion of cash, will be the largest ever foreign purchase from a Japanese company. $8 billion worth of shares will be purchased directly from Sprint, while the other $12.1 billion will be grabbed on the market. With regulatory setbacks and traditional due process, the deal is expected to close in mid-2013.
An infusion of cash is likely to help Sprint bolster its relatively weak network offering in the United States. Next to competitors Verizon and AT&T, Sprint has a fewer number of 4G LTE covered cities and a weaker 3G offering. Sprint expects to be more competitive over the coming years with a massive financial push towards LTE buildout.
With T-Mobile’s recent MetroPCS merger, the American telecommunications market will likely see increased competition. New influxes of cash will assist the two smaller networks in their quest to upend AT&T and Verizon. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son sees the buyout as a risk worth taking. With AT&T and Verizon closing in on a market duopoly, they have more to lose while Sprint has more to gain.
SoftBank was the only Japanese carrier of the Apple iPhone until the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011.
SoftBank’s Sprint purchase will be the largest foreign acquisition in Japanese history.
SoftBank is market valued at about 2.65 trillion yen, according to Bloomberg.
SoftBank introduced a Disney-themed Android device this month (October 2010) with a 720p 4.5-inch display, 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro, and 13-megapixel camera.
SoftBank launched a plethora of competitive Android handsets in 2012, including Sharp’s Aquos Phone Xx 106SH, Fujitsu’s Arrows A 101F, and Sharp’s Pantone 5 107SH.