Japanese firm to take over Sprint in $20.1B deal
15th Oct 2012 | 17:03
All-cash arrangement gives SoftBank 70 percent ownership
With talks between the two companies finished, Japanese technology company SoftBank has announced plans to take control of Sprint by mid-2013, infusing the third-place U.S. carrier with a $20.1 billion investment.
SoftBank announced the agreement in a press release Monday, revealing its plans to purchase 70 percent of Sprint's stock for $12.1 billion, with the remaining $8 billion tagged as an investment into the carrier's future.
The all-cash deal is expected to close by the middle of next year and gives Sprint shareholders a 27 percent premium over the closing stock price last Friday thanks to a $7.30/share buyout price.
Investing in the future
Now that the boards of both companies approved the deal, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he is looking forward to repeating a similar investment the company made in Vodafone Japan.
"This transaction provides an excellent opportunity for SoftBank to leverage its expertise in smartphones and next-generation high-speed networks, including LTE, to drive the mobile internet revolution in the world's largest market," he said in a press release.
"As we have proven in Japan, we have achieved a V-shaped earnings recovery in the acquired mobile business and grown dramatically by introducing differentiated products and innovative services to an incumbent-led market.
"Our track record of innovation, combined with Sprint's strong brand and local leadership provides a constructive beginning toward creating a more competitive American mobile market."
According to CNBC's Jim Cramer, Son has another reason for wanting to buy up Sprint.
"I am a man, and every man wants to be number one, not number two or number three," he reportedly said.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse is equally bullish on the deal, noting it will benefit shareholders while leading to a "stronger, better-capitalized Sprint."
Sprint is in a race against time to catch up with larger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T as they continue to roll out nationwide 4G LTE coverage in the United States.
Last week, Verizon announced plans to introduce the coverage in 417 markets by Oct. 18.