SoftBank holds $65bn war chest for Char­ter deal

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS -

Ja­pan-based SoftBank is weigh­ing up whether to launch a for­mal takeover ap­proach for US cable com­pany Char­ter Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, with fi­nanc­ing to the tune of $65 bil­lion in place.

Bloomberg, cit­ing peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter, re­ported SoftBank’s chair­man Masayoshi Son (pic­tured) lined up the fi­nanc­ing ar­range­ment with four banks as part of his plans to merge the com­pany’s US op­er­a­tor Sprint with Char­ter.

The de­vel­op­ment comes just days af­ter Char­ter said in a state­ment it was not in­ter­ested in ac­quir­ing Sprint, fol­low­ing re­ports the US op­er­a­tor had pro­posed such a merger.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est de­vel­op­ment, it was in fact Son’s plan all along for SoftBank to ac­quire Char­ter, not the other way around, and com­bine it with Sprint to cre­ate a new pub­licly traded com­pany.

When re­ject­ing the ini­tial pro­posal, Char­ter’s board was re­port­edly aware of the fi­nanc­ing, and Son is now con­sid­er­ing whether to pro­ceed with a for­mal of­fer with a few tweaks.

Son may also first opt to ac­quire the rest of Sprint, of which SoftBank owns 84 per cent, and then look to buy Char­ter for cash and stock.

The sources noted a for­mal of­fer for Char­ter is un­likely to come this week, and the SoftBank chief could ul­ti­mately de­cide not to pro­ceed with a bid.

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