Just two months after SoftBank confirmed it was selling half of Sprint Corp., talks are underway to sell the rest, a sale that would clear more than $12 billion for Sprint and take it out of a “global group of suitors,” according to a person familiar with the talks.
Over the past few months, terms of the sale have become clearer, this person said, and the latest talks appear to be at an advanced stage. The two sides may finalize a deal soon and ultimately target a price of $20 billion to $30 billion, the person said.
The timing of the sale and the financial details are key, this person said. The news could still change, this person said.
T-Mobile US Inc. also, with its most attention-grabbing spectrum holdings, is seeking a purchase of Sprint. The New York Post reported Tuesday that the companies are in talks to acquire each other’s wireless units. The sell-off of Sprint comes as T-Mobile’s prospects for growth look bright. Shares in the company have risen steadily since late March, when SoftBank announced it would sell half of Sprint. As a result, shares of T-Mobile US are up more than 20 percent since then.
In early May, SoftBank also bolstered its stake in the company, by becoming the fourth-largest shareholder with a 25 percent stake. Though he still didn’t own a majority stake, SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son is pushing to end T-Mobile’s practice of frequently buying its shares.
In the last decade, Sprint has paid billions of dollars for spectrum licenses, advanced wireless coverage and tens of billions of dollars in capital spending. The deals have helped the company raise its interest in profitable businesses such as wholesale wireless voice and data services. While it has the liquidity to fund such a large acquisition, the company’s network improvements and continued expansion have put it at odds with creditors, notably SoftBank and Sprint’s largest mutual-fund investor, Guggenheim Partners.