Nikkei: SoftBank in talks to acquire Sprint for $20 billion [updated]

SoftBank Sprint Acquisition

Why is Sprint (S) suddenly less interested in MetroPCS (PCS)? According to a report from Nikkei on Thursday, it’s because Japanese carrier SoftBank is in talks to acquire the United States’ third largest carrier for approximately 1.5 trillion yen, or $19.22 billion. Additional details are limited and Nikkei’s report does not cite any sources. SoftBank acquired rival Japanese carrier eAccess earlier this month, and is rumored to be working on additional deals.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is now reporting Sprint has confirmed that it is in talks with SoftBank regarding a “substantial investment” in the company.

UPDATE 2: Sprint CEO Dan Hesse sent the following memo, which was obtained by Business Insider, to Sprint employees:

Dear Sprint teammates,

A few minutes ago we put out a statement indicating that Sprint is in discussions with Softbank regarding a potential transaction. The transaction could include a substantial financial investment by Softbank in Sprint and could include a change in control of the company. This transaction may or may not occur. I wanted to let you know about the possibility. We will keep you updated. Most importantly, please stay focused on delivering strong fourth quarter results.

Thanks for all you do for Sprint,

Dan

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