SoftBank gets closer to buying T-Mobile -report

Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:16pm EST

Dec 24 (Reuters) - Japan-based SoftBank Corp is in final stages of talks with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom about acquiring the U.S.-based wireless carrier, the Nikkei news service reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

SoftBank, which purchased 80 percent of Sprint earlier this year, wants to pay for T-Mobile using shares of Sprint as early as next spring in a deal worth more than $19 billion, the report said. SoftBank aims to have Sprint buy the majority of T-Mobile shares.

SoftBank has thought about a stock swap but now may have added a tender offer and other kinds of deals to its list of options, Nikkei reported. Deutsche Telekom prefers a cash deal, the story said.

SoftBank is speaking to banks about borrowing funds for a deal, according to news reports.

Sprint has been interested in combining with T-Mobile for years and top executives from both companies have said that consolidation is needed in the U.S. wireless market to create a stronger rival against the biggest players, Verizon and AT&T.

A tie-up between Sprint and T-Mobile is expected to draw regulatory scrutiny, experts have said.

Shares of T-Mobile rose 21 cents or 0.7 percent to $32.06 per share.

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