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Mergers & acquisitions

Vendors Get a Piece of eAccess

Japanese operator SoftBank Corp. seems determined to keep its M&A team on its toes. Having announced a deal to acquire smaller Japanese mobile operator eAccess in early October 2012 for more than US$2 billion, SoftBank then struck a US$20.1 billion deal only days later to take a 70 percent stake in Sprint Nextel Corp. (See Softbank to Pay $20B for 70% Sprint Stake.) The Japanese giant concluded its takeover of eAccess on Jan. 1 this year, but has now reduced its stake in eAccess to 33.29 percent by issuing new shares to 11 partners, which collectively will hold 66.71 percent of the Class B shares (those that have voting rights) in eAccess. Softbank has done this to help preserve the independence of eAccess and to satisfy the concerns of Japan's regulators. What's interesting, though, is the identity of the companies that now have a say in eAccess. The 11 new stakeholders include (mostly through subsidiaries) Alcatel-Lucent, Comverse Inc., Ericsson AB, Nokia Siemens Networks and Samsung Corp., along with a number of Japanese property and financial firms. That's quite the set of interested parties: Investor meetings could get tasty… — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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