Softbank Corp has announced that it has agreed a deal to buy a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel for USD20.1 billion. The move comes as the Japanese company seeks to diversify away from its stagnating domestic telecoms market. ‘It could be safe if you do nothing, and our challenge in the US is not going to be easy at all. We must enter a new market, one with a different culture, and we must start again from zero after all we have built,’ said Softbank’s billionaire founder and CEO Masayoshi Son. ‘But not taking this challenge will be a bigger risk,’ he added. A person familiar with the negotiations told Reuters that the deal’s complex structure, including the use of convertible debt, was in order to be able to inject some capital into Sprint without having to wait for full regulatory approvals for the full investment. The transactions are expected to be completed by mid-2013 pending shareholder and regulatory approval. Softbank’s newly created US subsidiary New Sprint will become a publicly traded company and the old Sprint will continue to exist as its subsidiary. The deal carries with it termination fees of up to USD600 million should either Softbank or Sprint pull out.
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