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Fri, Aug. 8, 11:10 AM
- "Price competition will intensify ... Sprint (S -4.4%) will soon be ready to join the fray," says SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) Masayoshi Son following the end of Sprint's bid to acquire T-Mobile.
- Son notes SoftBank used aggressive pricing and marketing to gain Japanese mobile share following the acquisition of Vodafone's struggling Japanese unit - "We had nothing we could be proud of ... But we were still able to win more net users than anyone else." - and mentions Sprint is testing new service plans (previous).
- T-Mobile, of course, is already quite aggressive with its pricing, and AT&T had made sizable price cuts of its own in response. Verizon is refusing to return fire for now.
- Sprint is now down 23% since reports emerged it's giving up on trying to buy T-Mobile for the time being.
Wed, Aug. 6, 9:22 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has confirmed reports CEO Dan Hesse is leaving, and will be replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder/CEO of of mobile hardware distributor Brighstar.
- Claure, 43, is already a member of Sprint's board. He'll be resigning from Brighstar, and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire his remaining interest in the company. Bloomberg states Hesse may receive a $40M+ severance package.
- Shares are off sharply premarket due to widespread reports Sprint is ending its bid (for now) to acquire T-Mobile on account of regulatory opposition, as investors fear the carrier will continue bleeding share to T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T as an independent entity.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
Thu, Jul. 31, 1:02 PM
- France's Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) is offering $15B in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +7.3%) at a price of $33/share. Iliad values the remaining 43.4% at $40.50/share. Sprint (S -5.3%) has been reported to be planning a ~$40/share deal.
- Iliad says it has obtained financing from unnamed banks, and would also do a capital raise to help pay for the deal. One issue: Iliad has a current market cap of just $16B, less than T-Mobile's $24.8B and Sprint's $30.6B. Sprint has reportedly lined up a $40B+ debt package to finance a T-Mobile deal.
- A source tells the WSJ Iliad, which has upended the French mobile market with its aggressive pricing, views a T-Mobile merger as a "one-time opportunity to enter the world's-largest telecoms market."
- Iliad also thinks (perhaps with good reason, given FCC/DOJ remarks) regulators will be more comfortable with its bid than Sprint's, since Iliad has no U.S. presence.
- AT&T (T -2%) and Verizon (VZ -2.3%) have joined Sprint in selling off, as investors mull the possibility of a deal that would leave the number of nationwide U.S. carriers at 4. Concerns about Iliad's pricing history might also be weighing on shares.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCQX:DTEGY
- Earlier: Iliad reportedly bids for T-Mobile USA
Wed, Jul. 23, 9:40 PM
- After talking with an unnamed "large Yahoo shareholder that is preparing a presentation" featuring a similar thesis, fund manager Eric Jackson thinks there's a good chance Alibaba (Pending:BABA) or SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire Yahoo (YHOO +3.3%).
- His reasoning: Whereas the value of Yahoo's stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOF) are currently discounted for future tax payments, the pre-tax valuations are what matter to Alibaba and SoftBank. The former would be buying back a 22.5% pre-IPO stake in itself, and the latter would be adding to its respective 34.3% and 43% stakes in Alibaba and YJ.
- Jackson estimates Yahoo's assets are worth $56/share to either acquirer - he values the post-IPO Alibaba stake at $33, the YJ stake at $9, and Yahoo's core business at $5, and adds $9 for cash (inc. IPO share sales).
- He speculates Alibaba (were it the buyer) could trade the YJ stake to SoftBank for part of its Alibaba stake (adding to the scope of its buyback), and notes new SoftBank Internet/media chief Nikesh Arora reportedly wanted to buy Yahoo while at Google.
- One caveat: Acquiring Yahoo would give SoftBank a 56.8% stake in Alibaba before factoring IPO dilution. The Chinese government likely wouldn't be pleased with that. Jackson suggests SoftBank could trade part of its Alibaba stake post-acquisition for "something of similar value," but doesn't say what.
- Previous: Alibaba reportedly planning September IPO
Tue, Jul. 15, 2:13 PM
- Sprint (S -3.7%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -3.1%) plan to form a JV that will raise $10B to spend on next year's giant low-frequency spectrum auction, the WSJ reports.
- The funds are said to be part of the $45B financing package (previous) SoftBank (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) is lining up to enable a Sprint/T-Mobile merger (regulators permitting). T-Mobile will oversee the JV.
- Two months ago, the FCC set rules limiting how much spectrum Verizon and AT&T can buy through the auction. That opens the door for Sprint and T-Mobile to grab a large chunk of the airwaves. Each has a relative dearth of low-frequency spectrum (superior for rural and in-building coverage).
- Sprint currently has $26.6B in net debt, and T-Mobile roughly $9B. Shares of both companies have fallen on the report.
Fri, Jul. 11, 1:32 PM
- The Nikkei reports SoftBank (SFTBF) is close to a deal for a Sprint (S +4.4%)/T-Mobile (TMUS +1.9%) merger. Shares of both companies have moved higher.
- Reuters reported 3 weeks ago Sprint and T-Mobile were looking to announce a deal around August, and that the former had lined up a $40B+ debt package. Prior reports mentioned a ~$40/share T-Mobile acquisition price and a $2B breakup fee.
- T-Mobile is still below $34, as doubts about regulatory support for a deal remain high.
- Prior Sprint/T-Mobile coverage
Wed, Jun. 4, 5:56 PM
- Bloomberg reports Sprint (S) and T-Mobile USA (TMUS) are near an agreement for a deal that would value T-Mobile at ~$40/share. The WSJ is also reporting a ~$40/share price.
- S +3.7% AH. TMUS +3.2% to $36.02 - a price that points to ongoing regulatory worries.
- Sprint's offer will reportedly feature a 50-50 cash/stock split, and leave Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), which currently owns 67% of T-Mobile, with a 15% stake in the combined company. Bloomberg's sources state an announcement could happen by July.
- In addition, the carriers are reportedly close to agreeing on a breakup fee - Sprint and parent SoftBank (SFTBF) have reportedly been pushing for a smaller breakup fee for a deal that's bound to face tough DOJ/FCC scrutiny; T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom have wanted a bigger one.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
Thu, May. 29, 9:12 AM
- Japan's Kyodo news agency reports Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) has signed off on a SoftBank (SFTBF)/Sprint (S) bid to acquire its 67% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS).
- DT has previously suggested it's open to a deal as SoftBank/Sprint worked to line up financing - in addition to T-Mobile's equity, a deal has to account for $8.7B in net debt.
- But all signs suggest regulators remain wary of a tie-up lowering the number of nationwide U.S. mobile carriers to three, in spite of Masayoshi Son's relentless PR efforts.
- TMUS +1.6% premarket. S +2.5%.
Wed, May. 7, 7:39 AM
- Among the leading decliners was SoftBank (SFTBF), -5.1% as investors sold the news on the Alibaba offering. Exporters tanked as well, with a 2.9% fall in Honda and 3.4% decline in Panasonic pacing those slides.
- ETFs: DXJ, EWJ, DFJ, NKY, DBJP, EZJ, EWV, SCJ, DXJS, JPNL, JSC, ITF, JPP, JPNS, HEWJ, FJP, DXJH, DXJF, DXJT, DXJC, DXJR
Wed, Apr. 30, 6:03 PM
- Bloomberg reports Sprint (S) "plans to push forward" with a T-Mobile USA (TMUS) bid after lining up financing from six banks.
- SoftBank's (SFTBF) Masayoshi Son is expected to "make a formal bid in June or July," according to one source. SoftBank is still reportedly talking to T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom (DTEGF) about who would run the post-merger company; outspoken T-Mobile chief John Legere is the top candidate.
- While past reports have suggested financing will be available - Sprint is expected to absorb T-Mobile's $8.7B in net debt in the event of a deal - DOJ officials are apparently quite skeptical about the merits of a deal to merge the #3 and #4 U.S. mobile carriers.
- Son has previously argued he would launch a massive price war if a Sprint/T-Mobile deal was cleared, and would also offer competitive home broadband services (could be easier said than done in high-density urban areas).
- Sprint announced yesterday it lost 333K postpaid subs in Q1. T-Mobile, which reports tomorrow, has been faring better lately.
Wed, Apr. 16, 4:08 AM
- Alibaba Group (ABABA) could file the prospectus for its U.S. IPO on Monday, Reuters reports, adding that the listing could be worth over $16B.
- The report comes after major shareholder Yahoo (YHOO) disclosed that Alibaba's Q4 net income surged 110% to $1.35B as revenue jumped 66% to $3.06B.
- Alibaba's results helped Yahoo's shares climb 6.8% in AH trading. In Tokyo, shares in SoftBank (SFTBF), which owns 37% in Alibaba, jumped 8.5%.
Thu, Mar. 27, 11:52 AM
- SoftBank's (SFTBF) $3.17B sale of Japanese mobile ISP eAccess to Yahoo Japan is fueling speculation the Sprint (S +3.6%) parent is raising funds for a T-Mobile USA (TMUS +1.4%) bid.
- In spite of regulatory pushback, SoftBank's Masayoshi Son continues to press his case for a deal. "A duopoly is taking over our country," he declared today at an industry trade show. "if you look at [the past] five years … it is a fact that those two big companies increased [their market share] from 56% to 73%. What happens in the next five years?"
- T-Mobile's recent share gains (following years of losses) might have regulators thinking the next five years could go differently than the last five. The ripple effects of the #4 carrier's aggressive pricing might also influence their thinking.
- Son has promised he'd launch a "price war" if a Sprint/T-Mobile deal was approved, and that the merged carrier would act as a last-mile broadband rival to cable/phone duopolies - that could be easier said than done in densely-populated urban areas.
Mon, Mar. 17, 9:12 AM
- Yahoo's (YHOO) gains are in response to Alibaba's (ABABA) confirmation it plans to do a U.S. IPO.
- At a $140B valuation, Yahoo's 24% stake would have a pre-tax value of $33.6B.
- Over in Tokyo, SoftBank (SFTBF) rose 4.9% overnight. At a $140B valuation, its 36.7% stake in Alibaba would have a pre-tax value of $51.4B.
Tue, Mar. 4, 2:02 PM
- With FCC/DOJ regulators strongly suggesting they'll oppose any attempt by Sprint (S +3.1%) to merge with T-Mobile USA (TMUS +3.6%), SoftBank's (SFTBF, SFTBY) Masayoshi Son "plans to appeal directly to the U.S. business community and policy makers" to convince them the deal would be good for customers, the WSJ reports.
- Crucial to Son's effort: Convincing his audience Verizon and AT&T currently have a de facto U.S. mobile duopoly, one that Sprint and T-Mobile can't challenge independently.
- Likely to hurt his cause: T-Mobile is now rapidly adding postpaid subs (after losing them for years) with the help of innovative pricing schemes, and regulators reportedly fear a Sprint merger could affect T-Mobile's "maverick" status within the industry.
- Sprint and T-Mobile are both outperforming today. Son plans to make a major presentation on March 11 at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
Wed, Feb. 12, 3:46 PM
- Japanese tech/telecom giant SoftBank (SFTBF) has reported a 0.8% passive stake in Zynga (ZNGA +2.9%). Shares of the social game developer have rallied in response, and are close to their 52-week high of $4.97.
- SoftBank's empire includes Sprint (80%-owned), a 37% stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and Japan's third-largest mobile carrier.
Wed, Feb. 12, 10:20 AM
- Deutsche's Brett Feldman has upgraded Sprint (S +1.4%) to Buy following yesterday's Q4 report, albeit while leaving his PT unchanged at $9.25. He cites Sprint's spectrum advantage (presumably a reference to its high-frequency assets following the Clearwire deal), and the carrier's 2-year EBITDA growth outlook.
- However, Feldman still expects major subscriber losses in 1H14, followed by "a return to modest growth" once Sprint's Network Vision 4G initiative is finished. He's also skeptical a T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.4%) deal will happen in light of regulatory concerns.
- But while regulators continue signaling their skepticism, SoftBank's (SFTBF) Masayoshi Son appears undeterred in his quest to merge the #3 and #4 U.S. U.S. mobile carriers. Son tells the WSJ it would be "a dream within a dream" to challenge Verizon and AT&T without the scale provided by an acquisition. "I can't settle for No. 3 or No.2. It's my personality."
- Recent WSJ and Bloomberg reports suggested Sprint/SoftBank are weighing their options in the wake of recent DOJ/FCC comments.
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