SoftBank boosts stake in Sprint past 80%

Japanese operator SoftBank now owns more than 80 percent of Sprint (NYSE:S), a move that was made largely for tax purposes.

Over the past few months SoftBank has, through a series of stock transactions, steadily boosted its position in Sprint from 78 percent to 80 percent. The carrier now owns 80.1 percent of Sprint, a Sprint spokeswoman confirmed to the Kansas City Business Journal.

When SoftBank's $21.6 billion deal to take control of Sprint closed in July the carrier took a 78 percent equity stake. However, SoftBank purchased groups of Sprint stock through subsidiary Galaxy Investment Holdings at prices ranging from $6.71 to $6.76 a share between Thursday and Monday, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last week at an investor conference, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer indicated the move would give SoftBank tax benefits in Japan. .

Euteneuer also said that Sprint's executive team is in regular contact with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, who is Sprint's chairman, and that the two companies have learned a great deal from each other since the transaction closed. In particular, he said Sprint's network team has been working closely with network engineers at SoftBank, which already offers 2.5 GHz TD-LTE service in Japan. Sprint plans to use Clearwire's spectrum for a nationwide TD-LTE deployment using its own 2.5 GHz radio waves.

For more:
- see this Kansas City Business Journal article

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