SoftBank Ups Stake in Sprint – Again

In case investors doubted SoftBank's commitment to Sprint the first time, the Japanese carrier has upped its stake in Sprint for a second time this month, purchasing 16.8 million more shares in the US operator for a total of $73 million.

Bloomberg first reported on the increase, noted in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. It calculated that SoftBank Corp. paid $73 million for 16.8 million shares in Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). This builds on its additional $86.9 million investment into Sprint made just last week on August 13. (See SoftBank Ups Its Stake in Sprint.)

For more on Sprint's progress in the US, visit the dedicated mobile content section here on Light Reading.

SoftBank now owns just over 80% of Sprint, up from 79.99% last week. The two re-investments come as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has reiterated his commitment to Sprint, despite admitting he had lost confidence in the struggling US carrier when its acquisition of T-Mobile US Inc. failed. SoftBank cannot, however, increase its holdings to more than 85%, or Sprint would be a candidate for delisting. (See Sprint Promises Better LTE on Lower Capex.)

The market seems to share Son's confidence. While SoftBank's stock fell 0.9% to 7,440 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday, Sprint's has risen 20% since SoftBank's stock purchase last week and currently stands at $4.68.

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

mendyk 8/18/2015 | 2:55:14 PM
Re: Poker face The basic issue is that the fundamentals haven't changed. Sprint is already losing money and it needs to invest heavily to catch up to the leaders, which means even more losses. That's not impossible, but for the next few years at least, there's nothing to indicate a significant balance-sheet turnaround. Unless Mr. Son's plan is to take Sprint private, the latest piecemeal stock purchases don't seem to have a clear purpose.
Sarah Thomas 8/18/2015 | 2:49:57 PM
Re: Poker face I figured it wasn't a vote of confidence. :) Today's RootMetrics numbers (which T-Mo says are crap) suggest Sprint is still in the running, but it better have an ace in the hole (right?) to retain any relevancy going forward. 
mendyk 8/18/2015 | 2:46:55 PM
Re: Poker face It means ... long odds. And no guarantee that your opponent isn't holding a full house even if you get the card you need.
Sarah Thomas 8/18/2015 | 1:36:07 PM
Re: Poker face I don't gamble...you mean you know Son has a perfect plan to fix Sprint so this is a safe gamble to make?
mendyk 8/18/2015 | 12:42:48 PM
Poker face Seems a little like raising the bet when drawing to an inside straight.
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