SoftBank Increases its Stake in Sprint to About 83%

  • New investment leaves stake in Sprint below 85% target
  • Billionaire Son restates commitment to struggling U.S. carrier

SoftBank Group invested an additional $204 million in Sprint Corp., underscoring billionaire founder Masayoshi Son’s commitment to turning around the unprofitable U.S. wireless carrier.

The Japanese company bought 45.8 million shares at an average price of $4.54 apiece in September, increasing its stake to about 83 percent from 82 percent, based on data in a SoftBank filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released Tuesday. In August, the carrier bought more than twice that many shares.

Son is standing behind Sprint after the carrier posted a third consecutive subscriber gain in its most recent quarter. Son has said he already sees “light at the end of the tunnel” for a company that had booked losses in six of the past seven quarters, though he’s acknowledged that a turnaround may take two years.

SoftBank has said it may make additional purchases while keeping its holdings to no more than 85 percent, which would make Sprint a target for delisting.

Sprint shares rose 2.7 percent to $3.84 at the close in New York. The stock has fallen 7.5 percent this year.

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