Softbank to sell 67 pct stake in eAccess to Samsung, others-Nikkei

Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:51pm EST

Jan 12 (Reuters) - Softbank Corp, which has struck a deal to buy third-ranked American mobile carrier Sprint Nextel Corp, is in the final stages of talks to sell about 67 percent stake in eAccess Ltd to Samsung Electronics Co and 10 others, the Nikkei reported.

The Japanese mobile operator bought eAccess in a $1.84 billion deal in October as it stepped up battle with its nearest competitor KDDI Corp.

Softbank turned the mobile communications service provider into a wholly owned subsidiary Jan. 1.

Other likely buyers include Sweden's LM Ericsson, Finland's Nokia Siemens Networks, Orix Corp and five Japanese leasing companies, the business daily said.

Cutting its eAccess stake will allow Softbank to work around the Communications Ministry's policy on spectrum allocation to telecom service providers, the Nikkei said.

Under the policy, either a parent company, or one of its units in which it owns more than 33 percent, can apply for an allocation of spectrum.

Softbank will remain the top shareholder in eAccess but lose veto power after the sale, which is expected to close by end January and raise several billion yen, the daily said.

The company has opted not to let any Chinese companies buy eAccess shares to prevent any impact on its American operations, the Nikkei said.

The U.S. Congress has expressed reservations about use of Chinese communications equipment in the country.

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