SoftBank holds $65bn war chest for Charter deal
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.