Japan's Softbank To Snag 70% Stake In Sprint

It's pretty much a done deal, says CNBC. The financial news outlets has confirmed that Sprint will soon have a new majority owner: Japan's own Softbank. The Japanese mobile carrier is reportedly ready to pay $20 billion (yes, with a B!) for a 70% stake in Sprint, which is currently America's third-largest carrier. In what perhaps showcases just how bad off Sprint is, the news has caused Softbank's stock to decline some 5%. Many of the finer details are still be ironed out, which is to be expected with such a large and complicated matter, but the official news should be posted soon.

Early reports suggest that the deal will see Softbank snapping up $8 billion worth of stock from Sprint ($5.25 per share), and tender for another $12 billion from existing holders at $7.30/share. That's a big premium, but given Sprint's slow spiral into the unknown here in the U.S., it's probably best to jump now while someone is even remotely interested in a buy.

Sprint has struggled in recent years to compete with AT&T, Verizon and even prepaid carriers. The network operator leaped first on WiMAX, but LTE eventually won the 4G war, leaving Sprint massively behind the curve. They also weren't able to secure the iPhone until last year, long after most people who wanted one had already selected a rival carrier. It remains to be seen if a foreign parent will have any luck in making Sprint stronger on its home turf, but any change seems like a positive one at this stage.