SoftBank lines up $65 billon to fund Charter deal: report

SoftBank Group Corp has lined up $65 billion in financing as chairman Masayoshi Son mulls a formal takeover offer for Charter Communications Inc, Bloomberg reported quoting people familiar with the matter.

The financing arrangement and other details are emerging as Son plans to merge Charter with SoftBank's struggling US wireless company Sprint Corp.

While Charter had last weekend stated that its board was not interested in the acquisition of Sprint, Son had all along sought the acquisition of Charter by SoftBank and combining it with Sprint to create a new publicly traded company, according to the people.

The funding to complete that complex transaction, from four banks, had been in place for some time, according to the people, who asked not to be identified. Charter's board was aware of the financing when it rejected the initial proposal, but Son is considering a fresh proposal anyway, perhaps with some tweaks, they added.

According to the report, it may not be easy to persuade Charter's investors to arrive at a deal. John Malone, the cable billionaire with about 21 per cent control of Charter through Liberty Broadband Corp, agreed with the decision by Charter's board to reject Son's proposal, two of the people said.

Meanwhile, Charter Communications Inc's shares shot to a record high yesterday on news that Japan's SoftBank Group Corp was considering an acquisition offer, even as Charter rejected the possibility of it being the acquirer in any merger with SoftBank's US wireless carrier, Sprint Corp, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported yesterday citing a source that SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son was considering a bid for Charter as soon as the end of August, in what would be by far the Japanese telecommunications conglomerate's biggest deal.

Charter has a market capitalisation of over $100 billion and another $60 billion in debt. The bid would be at least 50 per cent in cash and the rest in stock, according to the source.