Sprint Nextel is in talks with Japan's Softbank Corp. for a possible takeover that would give the nation's third-largest carrier much-needed financial support to build out its high-speed LTE network and better compete with Verizon and AT&T.
The deal could be worth as much as $19 billion, according to the Associated Press, and result in Softbank acquiring a 75% stake in the Kansas-based carrier, according to the New York Times.
Sprint confirmed the ongoing talks with Japan's third-largest carrier Thursday in a statement.
“Although there can be no assurances that these discussions will result in any transaction or on what terms any transaction may occur, such a transaction could involve a change of control of Sprint. Sprint does not intend to comment further unless and until an agreement is reached,” Sprint said.
The deal appears to be a reaction to T-Mobile's decision last week to agree to merge with MetroPCS.
There had been reports that Sprint was preparing a counterbid for MetroPCS, but on Wednesday Bloomberg said Sprint had decided to hold off on that bid. That now appears to be a result of the company's talks with Softbank.