A major shift in the telecom industry, one that could be an indication of more large-scale transactions to come, has been announced by Japan’s Softbank Corp and Sprint Nextel Corp.. Softbank announced its intent to purchase a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel Corp. for about $20 billion, in what is reportedly the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese firm. The deal represents a major inroad opportunity for Softbank into the U.S. market, one that could be used for residual tech product purchases such as smartphones and other mobile devices, as they are currently the third largest mobile carrier in Japan.
According to several financial news sources, the mechanics of the transaction include the purchase of $8 billion of shares directly from Sprint, and subsequent purchase of another $12.1 billion ($7.30 per share) of shares in open market. Other elements include the purchase of $3.1 billion of bonds with a seven-year maturity that will convert into Sprint stock at $5.25 a share. Additionally, it will offer $7.30 a share for about $12.1 billion in stock it buys in the public market.
The deal, may represent a missed opportunity for large U.S. tech firms such as Apple, Google, or Microsoft, as the market place continues to evolve and their market share positions for smartphones and handset devices are continually under assault by new entries. When the dust settles from the transaction, which is expected to be within 6 months, Softbank will possess 90 million subscribers.