Softbank Is in Talks to Buy Sprint Nextel Stake, Nikkei Says

Softbank Corp. (9984), Japan’s third- largest mobile phone company, is in talks to buy control of Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) for more than 1.5 trillion yen ($19 billion), the Nikkei newspaper reported on its website.

Softbank is seeking to buy two-thirds of Sprint Nextel’s shares, the Nikkei reported, without saying where it got the information. The Nikkei earlier reported the deal would be worth as much as 2 trillion yen.

Softbank is “checking the facts of the Nikkei report,” Mariko Osada, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based company said by phone.

The deal would give Softbank a base for entering the U.S. market with a compatible carrier that uses similar equipment made by Sweden’s Ericsson AB, the Nikkei reported. Softbank, the fastest-growing Japanese mobile phone provider, on Oct. 2 agreed to pay 180 billion yen for smaller local rival eAccess Ltd.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keiko Ujikane in Tokyo at kujikane@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave McCombs at dmccombs@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.