Softbank to borrow $23 billion to finance bid for Sprint

Softbank to borrow $23 billion to finance bid for Sprint
Now that Sprint has officially acknowledged that it is talking to Japan's Softbank about a "strategic investment" in the carrier, things are beginning to move swiftly behind the scenes. The latest word is that Softbank is talking to three Japanese banks, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., in an effort to secure $23 billion in loans that would be used to help the telecommunications and internet firm acquire 70% of Sprint. The third largest carrier in the U.S. has a current market cap of $17.28 billion after the stock rose on word of the talks.

Softbank loaded itself up with debt back in 2006 when it purchased the Japanese arm of Vodafone. With the company's current debt level at $10 billion, adding $23 billion more in debt could make things difficult for the Japanese firm. Morgan Stanley analyst Tetsuro Tsusaka figures that if Softbank were to acquire two-thirds of Sprint at a 30% premium to its current stock market price, it could saddle the firm with more than $55 billion in net debt. S&P lowered Softbank's credit rating outlook to negative, worried how a deal to take a controlling stake in a financially weak Sprint could negatively affect Softbank's financial position.

Sprint shareholders might not make out as well as they thought they might. Softbank plans on buying new treasury shares directly from Sprint and then making a tender offer for the balance of the stock. Softbank expects to pay no more than $6.50 for its shares. Sprint closed Friday at $5.73 a share, down 3 cents, after rising 14% on Thursday on news of the deal. One analyst, J.P. Morgan's Philip Cusick, said that although his firm expects Sprint to be trading between $6 and $7 in a year, he hears that some big holders of the stock expect it to trade at $10 or higher.

In 2008, Softbank had a major problem when money it set aside for a debt redemption was lost when it was invested in a credit default swap. The company came back riding the tails of Apple as it was the exclusive carrier of the Apple iPhone in Japan for some time. Softbank's founder and CEO, Masayoshi Son, had promised not to make any acquisitions until the company paid off its debt which he promised to do by March 2014. He has obviously decided that buying a huge stake in Sprint is worth breaking his word for, striking while the iron is hot.

source: WSJ



1. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I knew this was coming, it was just a matter of time. One thing surprises me, fact is not a local player like Apple or Google. Hey, now the CEO can make out like a bandit after almost destroying the carrier with all the wrong choices.

8. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Im sorry but if it was not for Dan sprint would not be available for purchase today. If you recall in 2007 sprint nearly vanished off the face of the earth. Dan came and cleaned up shop. Sure not every decision he made was good however overall not bad.

11. KFear

Posts: 170; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

This is correct. JunitoNH is dead wrong. Dan made the right decisions. We all knew the road would be rocky as well.

22. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

So, in essence you are saying, purchasing an incompatible technology such as Nextel(iden, which is about to get phase out), Wimax, and spending billions for the iPhone were great decisions? Should had taken the billions and spent it on LTE. You don't have to agree with me, but tell what did I miss?

23. KFear

Posts: 170; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

You are dead wrong again. The Nextel purchase was before Hesse took the chair. The Iphone deal also needed to happen. Sprint needed more Post Paid subscribers, especially when it comes to those new customers upgrading after two years. That and the market was starting to balance out between Android and Apple based products. Hopefully Apple costs would go down as more people are switching to Android. Obviously we still have some time before that comes into play more and more. The Iphone purchase had many many many variables at play. JunitoNH, you should stop posting here. I've worked for Sprint for awhile, and you know nothing about Sprint.

17. crysiswarmonger

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

I too have been saying Sprint is going under or bought up by someone just to get customer base, then switch them to their own network. Which is why I wonder how long before Softbank will go under since they have not network in US. Well , almost destroying, I am sure it is destroyed. Sprint service sucks.

18. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Listen, I know you're a Sprint hater but this is reality. Sprint has exponentially improved their operations across the board in the last few years. They are now a much leaner and more efficient company with big plans when it comes to network technology innovation and they have a solid product portfolio and a huge corporate / government account base. Being a Verizon and Sprint subscriber and an investor in the stock market, I believe Sprint has made some good decisions in the last several years, the thing is most people who know nothing about running a business think these changes and the product of those changes happen overnight. The iPhone is a long term investment for Sprint, as it is for AT&T and Verizon, they are adding customers every quarter and those customers are generally more loyal and profitable. Sprint is currently working one it's largest piece of the puzzle left to bring them to the top, and that is Network Vision, it's plan to re-engineer and re-build it's entire network from the ground up, the multi-mode equipment Sprint is cutting edge tech, and they are investing more in their networks than all other carriers combined. 1xRTT / 3G Advanced, LTE with an immediate path to LTE Advanced and VoLTE, HD Voice and Clearwire's robust 100mbps capable TD-LTE network in conjunction. This network is being over-engineered to keep unlimited data as the differentiator for Sprint and it looks like Softbank is acting on many analysts projections which is that Sprint will continue to grow and improved rapidly. Dont get me wrong, they have a lot of work to do, but they are definitely moving on the right direction and the market is reacting to this.

2. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

I would had like to see Sprint get the money to build out it's LTE or better yet, combind LTE network deal with T-Mobile to offer a CDMA and a GSM competitor for ATT & Verizon, so everyone would had gotten a lower bill.

3. Galen20K

Posts: 577; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

that's a terrible idea and a logistics nightmare as well. besides, each and every carrier is basically killing off CDMA technology not to mention completely different LTE bands so that just wouldn't make sense at this current time.

5. thunder18

Posts: 156; Member since: Aug 06, 2009

True! With VoLTE being the final nail in the coffin, once the LTE network is ubiquitous enough.

19. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Exactly, CDMA based EVDO and GSM based HSPA+ are going away as LTE will handle data and VoLTE will be used for voice traffic.

4. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

Ok, just waiting to see what happens within the next 4-6 months.

6. hcbarclay

Posts: 62; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

I am an employee and a stock holder...please someone just make the right decision!! I do not care who does it but someone needs to help us out, bad!!

7. e.wvu unregistered

You put stock in Sprint? You must really believe in Sprint.

13. Ruckus

Posts: 286; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Sprint has been doing pretty well lately if you haven't noticed. They've been adding subscribers at a solid rate and recently their stock doubled.

20. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Ruckus is right and a lot of people are investing in Sprint as most analysts predict they will grow rapidly in the next few years thus increasing their stock price.

9. Sprintfan

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

Pretty exciting. If you figure CLWR is a part of this deal, and they end up owning it, couldn't they easily auction the spectrum and pay for most of the deal and still have leftovers?

10. axllebeer

Posts: 272; Member since: Apr 05, 2011

If this give Sprint the $ it needs to pour into its network then so be it. Of course who knows if that will be the case but if it is then they might be able to gain subscribers then raise their cash on hand. If that were to happen then that stock will be worth more $ Sprint could always buy it back.

12. KFear

Posts: 170; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

Sprint is a good company and it was almost destroyed by terrible terrible mistakes by a chosen few people that should have never been in charge. They deserve to be stronger and they have come A LONG way since 2008. Yes, their data network isn't so great, but for most data users, 500k a second is enough. I know that sounds low, but most people just check email, download a dozen apps, gps, and once an awhile a website or two.

14. axllebeer

Posts: 272; Member since: Apr 05, 2011

I agree with pretty much everything that you are saying here. I was with Nextel for many years. Now with Sprint for about 2. In comparison to what I was used to its totally acceptable. Faster is better that's for sure but am I out and about that much that I need that much more speed that often? No. That's why I have a hard line with a 15 mps connection at home. Sprint has worked with me when I was behind on the bill and have always treated me right. They want to keep everyone that they have now and it shows. I'm sticking with them and have high hopes for the LTE network rolling out sooner rather than later. They need to work on under promising and over delivering. That will be the key.

15. KFear

Posts: 170; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

Well added. Sprint has a GREAT program for working with people that have tight budgets. They have lower deposits too. There is a huge place for Sprint in this market once we think of all the ways that they are unique. Now, if only we can train sales reps and in stores a bit better. :). Damn! people in att&t stores and verizon especially are way more educated employees.

16. axllebeer

Posts: 272; Member since: Apr 05, 2011

Regarding reps in other carrier stores, unfortunately you are right about that. There is a Sprint store in Zanesville OH where I was talking with a great employee who was very knowledgeable but as for the stores around where I live, we're not so lucky. But I do believe that Sprint as a company is trying to do better all the time. The retail stores as a whole are lacking still.

21. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I think the rep deal is very market and individual rep dependent. I have had service with all major carriers, currently have Sprint and Verizon and I worked for Verizon. It is not a company wide thing. There are bad apples everywhere and generally, in my area, I find Sprint reps much more knowledgeable than Verizon reps.

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