Softbank CEO admits to considering MetroPCS bid

by: Kristofer WoukOctober 21, 2012

Image credit: Danny Choo

Some surprising things have happened surrounding Sprint over the past few days. According to comments made by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, we may not have seen the last of them either.

Just a few days ago, in a move that almost nobody expected to happen, Sprint acquired Clearwire, picking up a large chunk of spectrum in the process. Since Sprint was in the process of closing the deal on its recent acquisition by Softbank, it didn’t seem likely that they would be buy any companies during that time period.

After that acquisition, it would be reasonable to expect that no new purchases would be made for a while, but Son’s comments in a recent Wall Street Journal interview seem to point otherwise. Son said “We shouldn’t rule out any opportunity or alternative.” When pressed for details, Son wouldn’t go into specifics, simply saying “I will be aggressive—that’s all.”

While Sprint was already in place as the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., behind Verizon and AT&T, a Softbank buyout of MetroPCS would help Sprint to close the gap between themselves and AT&T. Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint has already given the company money it desperately needed to strengthen its position.

Before Softbank paid $20 billion for a 70 percent stake of the company, Sprint was looking at a costly network upgrade that would likely be slowed down by lack of funding. Now they are in a better position to upgrade their network as well as take any other opportunities that may come along.

Softbank will take its position as majority shareholder of Sprint over the course of a few steps. First, Softbank will buy $3 million worth of bonds that convert to Sprint shares and pay the rest in two later installments.

CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse said “Think of it almost as an insurance policy,” adding “It’s some money in the bank until the deal closes that, for some reason, if we wanted to do something we could.” Given the events of the last week, it’s looking more and more likely that Sprint may indeed find a use for that money, whatever it may be.

Do you think that a Softbank acquisition of MetroPCS could happen? Or was Softbank’s CEO merely thinking out loud during the interview?

  • yes.

  • isn’t MetroPCS on a different band? Sprint = CDMA, MetroPCS = ??

    • Cory

      MetroPCS=CMDA which is why people said the TMobile buy didn’t make sense cause TMobile is GSM.

  • Cory

    It would make more sense than TMobile buying them. Plus it would be better for the customers of MetroPCS. It would make Sprint strong enough to fully compete with the big 2 and potentially with more competition would bring down prices.

  • Cory

    I think it would be great for Sprint/Softbank and MetroPCS if it did happen. It would catch Sprint up from a distant 3rd to a close 3rd. It would be hard to block and argue a monopoly because it’s not like they would jump to 1st, just catch up.