Report: Softbank to buy 70% of Sprint

Japanese operator Softbank will purchase 70 percent of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for $20 billion, according to a CNBC report. The report, which cited unnamed sources, said that details of the deal are still being finalized but will likely be announced Monday.

The deal calls for Softbank to buy $8 billion in Sprint stock at a price of $5.25 per share and tender for another $12 billion worth of shares from existing holders at a price of $7.30 per share. Because of the way the deal is structured, it will not require shareholder approval, the report said. Those details were also confirmed by a Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources as well. 

According to the CNBC report, the Softbank deal is contingent upon Sprint purchasing Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR)  However that deal is not expected to be announced Monday. Sprint remains Clearwire's largest shareholder but in the past has ruled out buying the company, which has gross debt of $4.5 billion.

Last week Sprint confirmed reports that it was in talks with Softbank about a possible acquisition. Many industry analysts believe Softbank may be looking to boost the 2.5/2.6 GHz TD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is using that spectrum and technology for its LTE buildout, and plans to launch LTE service next year. Sprint has said its LTE devices will be able to run on its FDD-LTE network as well as Clearwire's TD-LTE network, and Sprint will offload excess traffic onto Clearwire's network.

For more:
- see this CNBC article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this this Bloomberg article

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