Japan's third-largest mobile phone company Softbank Corp, and the country's fastest growing mobile carrier, is buying a controlling 70-per cent stake in Sprint Nextel Corp, the third-largest wireless carrier in the US, for $20.1 billion, the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese company after Japan Tobacco Inc's 2007 purchase of UK's Gallaher Group for about $19 billion.
Softbank will fund the acquisition with cash at hand and a syndicated financing facility.
This is Softbank's second-biggest acquisition after it purchased Vodafone's Japanese unit for $15.5 billion in a 2006.
The deal, announced today at a joint news conference in Tokyo by Softbank president Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, has been approved by the boards of both companies, but still needs approval from Sprint shareholders and US regulators.
The deal also includes a $600 million termination fee.
The Tokyo-based company will pay $12.1 billion to buy existing Sprint shares at $7.30 per share, while the remaining $8 billion will go towards buying new shares at $5.25 each.