Japan’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers Softbank Mobile has been named as one of the bidders for ailing personal handyphone system (PHS) operator Willcom Inc. A report in today’s Yomiuri newspaper says Willcom, which is being sold by the private equity group Carlyle, has petitioned its creditors to reschedule its debt payments to give it more time to complete its restructuring exercise. The paper suggests Softbank is considered the frontrunner to secure Willcom, although with several other bids likely to emerge, Carlyle is expected to pick a buyer by the end of the year. The Yomiuri added that other bidders interested in Willcom include a number of unnamed investment funds. For its part, Softbank has reportedly asked Willcom creditors to waive part of the latter’s JPY93.5 billion (USD1.1 billion) debt, the paper claims without citing sources.
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