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TMCNet:  Softbank mulls acquiring T-Mobile

[December 24, 2013]

Softbank mulls acquiring T-Mobile

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Dec. 25 -- (Kyodo) _ Softbank Corp. is considering acquiring T-Mobile US Inc. as early as next spring, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

Softbank, one of Japan's largest mobile phone carriers, is studying the possibility of buying a majority stake in the U.S. No. 4 carrier through Sprint Nextel Corp. that was bought by the Japanese company in July, according to the sources.

The deal is expected to top 2 trillion yen in value, they said.

In the U.S. mobile phone market, the top two of Verizon Wireless and AT&T boast more than 100 million subscribers each, against about 55 million for Sprint. With the acquisition of T-Mobile, if realized, Softbank would come close to the top two with a subscriber base of nearly 100 million.

Softbank is in talks with T-Mobile's German parent, Deutsche Telekom, according to the sources.

But Softbank will have to overcome a regulatory hurdle. Deutsche Telekom agreed in 2011 to sell T-Mobile to AT&T, but the deal was opposed by the U.S. Justice Department because of antitrust concerns.

The cost for the acquisition of T-Mobile would be another headache for Softbank, whose interest-bearing debts have already swollen to 8.84 trillion yen as of the end of September after its purchase of Sprint.

(c) 2013 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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