Softbank to buy up to 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion

  • Japanese mobile operator Softbank is to buy up to 70 percent of Sprint Nextel, the third-largest U.S. carrier, for about $20.1 billion.

    The deal, announced jointly by Softbank's billionaire founder and chief Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse at a news conference in Tokyo, will enable an entry into a market that still shows growth in comparison to Japan's market, which is stagnating.

    The deal marks the most a Japanese firm has spent on an overseas acquisition.

    It will also allow Sprint to build out its 4G network to compete better in a U.S. market dominated by AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

    Combined, Softbank and Sprint will have 96 million users.