Softbank to offer eAccess to Samsung

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Softbank to offer eAccess to Samsung

Japanese telecommunications firm Softbank has decided to sell a two-thirds stake in eAccess, a smaller mobile service provider, to Samsung Electronics and 10 other companies, reports said Saturday.

Softbank, which last year signed a $20 billion takeover of U.S. firm Sprint Nextel, is in talks with 11 possible buyers, including Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks as well as Japanese firms, the Nikkei newspaper said.

Cutting its eAccess stake to below one-third will enable Softbank to skirt the government policy on spectrum allocation to telecom service providers, the Nikkei said.

Softbank turned eAccess into a wholly-owned subsidiary on Jan. 1, and will remain its top shareholder with a 33-percent stake, major media said.

But the communications ministry has viewed the purchase as running counter to the policy of allocating frequency bands fairly to cellphone carriers, Kyodo News said.

Softbank is working toward selling a roughly six percent interest to each of the 11 companies by the end of this month, the Nikkei said.

The company hopes that the sales could also facilitate better development and upgrades of its telecommunications network by strengthening ties with major foreign firms, the Nikkei said.

Softbank also wants to tap the foreign partners’ know-how to improve its services, the Nikkei said.

To prevent any impact on its American operations, Softbank has opted not to let any Chinese companies buy the eAccess shares, the Nikkei said. AFP

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