Softbank Corp, Japan's third-largest mobile phone company, is in the advanced stages of talks to sell about 67 per cent stake in eAccess Ltd to Samsung Electronics Co and 10 others, the Nikkei yesterday reported.
The Tokyo-based company had acquired eAccess in October 2012 for about ¥180 billion ($2.3 billion) in stock. (See: Japan's Softbank to acquire smaller rival eAccess for $2.3 billion)
Softbank paid a massive premium of more than three times the eAccess closing price of ¥15,070 ($191) in order to better compete with its nearest competitor KDDI Corp.
Other potential buyers of Softbank's stake in eAccess include Sweden's LM Ericsson, Finland's Nokia Siemens Networks, Orix Corp and five Japanese leasing companies, the report said.
The sale will ease regulatory concerns of Japan's regulator since Softbank could hold a monopoly on spectrum allocation as defined by the Communications Ministry's policy on spectrum allocation to telecom service providers.
Post sale, Softbank will be the largest shareholder in eAccess, but lose veto power. But through the sale, Softbank could raise several billion yen, which could be used to fund its $20.1 billion acquisition of a majority stake in Sprint Nextel Corp, the third-largest US mobile carrier.