Japan's Softbank offers $20.1bn to take big gulp of Sprint

CEO: We're coming to America


Japanese operator Softbank wants to buy Sprint, and has confirmed that it is prepared to pay more than £12bn ($20.1bn) for a 70 per cent stake in the US operator, assuming the US regulator will let it.

Rumours of the deal were swirling around last week, leading to a drop in Softbank's own share value as investors balked at the valuation the deal puts in the loss-making Sprint. But Softbank's founder and CEO Masayoshi Son was bullish at the weekend, saying that the company needs to spread from the stagnating Japanese market.

"We must enter a new market, one with a different culture, and we must start again from zero after all we have built. But not taking this challenge will be a bigger risk," he said in a briefing to investors and the media.

Reuters has been talking to some banks, and reckons four are lined up to lend Softbank the readies, but the deal will stretch the company and there are some suggestions that the debt could become unmanageable.

There is also the question of Clearwire, the network operation which Sprint uses to provide 4G connectivity (originally WiMax ClearWire has been busy deploying LTE), the relationship will need to be cast in stone before any Sprint acquisition can go ahead.

But if it did Softbank could make great use of its TD-LTE experience as that's the LTE variant it has deployed in Japan. Time-Division LTE uses a single frequency for both sending and receiving data, allowing asynchronous, but not simultaneous, communications. Frequency-Division LTE (FDD-LTE) uses separate bands for sending and receiving, and is far more popular around the world.

FDD is how mobile operators are used to working, but TD-LTE is developing fast and has the advantage of not needing pairs of bands – and finding spectrum pairs can be problematic for mobile carriers. If Softbank bought Sprint it would create a considerable market for TD-LTE equipment.

All of which assumes the US regulators would permit Softbank to take over Sprint, which is also open to debate. It could well depend on whether America's decision not to trust Chinese suppliers is specifically anti-China or symptomatic of an increasing xenophobic attitude. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Japan lets its banks and other entities issue stablecoins
    Wants private coins to have face value in Yen by 2023

    Japan's parliament has passed legislation allowing Yen-linked stablecoin cryptocurrencies, thus becoming one of the first countries – and by far the largest economy – to regulate a form of non-fiat digital money.

    The regulations stipulate that only banks and other registered financial institutions – like money transfer agents and trust companies – can issue the alterna-cash. Intermediaries, or those who are responsible for the circulation of the currencies, will be required to adopt stricter anti-money-laundering measures. The rules also define stablecoins as digital money and guarantee face value redemption.

    Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) floated this regime in a March 2021 proposal. Parliamentary assent for the proposal means it will come into effect in 2023. The regulations will apply to domestic financial institutions as well as foreign operations that target Japanese users. The research material supporting the decision relied heavily on trends in the US and Europe.

    Continue reading
  • Japan's asteroid probe reportedly found 20 amino acids
    They're the stuff of life, so the fact they're floating around out there is very exciting

    Dust that Japan's Hayabusa2 probe returned to Earth from asteroid Ryugu reportedly contain 20 amino acids, according to Japanese media.

    Which is very exciting indeed, because amino acids are the stuff of life. They help to build proteins, act as neurotransmitters in the brain, and are utterly ubiquitous and essential in terrestrial life. Just last month, esteemed journal Nature published research suggesting that amino acids had a crucial role in the evolution of the first self-replicating molecules.

    Outlets such as Nikkei report that a Science ministry spokesperson mentioned the presence of amino acids yesterday, with a hint of peer-reviewed work to come but no other detail.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022