Time and again it has been rumored that SoftBank is shopping around for a major mobile carrier. Over the past few months there has been endless speculation about a possible acquisition of T-Mobile U.S. by SoftBank, and a subsequent merger with Sprint, which it owns. Apparently federal regulators aren’t warming up to the idea, so perhaps SoftBank has started looking elsewhere. There’s increasing speculation that it may be considering a bid for UK-based Vodafone. Though this doesn’t mean that the T-Mobile deal is gone for good.
Vodafone has already significantly reduced its presence in the U.S. It had a 45 percent stake in Verizon, which it has decided to sell back to Big Red for $130 billion. While its not offering itself up for sale, there have been rumors about AT&T considering a move on UK’s second largest carrier. Word on the street is that the carrier may offer as much as $80 billion for Vodafone. AT&T has only recently started downplaying the rumors.
According to analysts, if a Vodafone takeover deal is reached, Japanese banks could provide SoftBank with funding. Its already set to make billions of dollars from Alibaba’s U.S. IPO, SoftBank has a 37 percent in the e-commerce website. Analysts also believe that if Vodafone sells off its European assets, it may simply spin off wireless businesses in markets like India.
SoftBank and Vodafone haven’t commented on speculation as yet, so there’s no indication if talks have actually begun. As far as the T-Mobile deal goes, both companies are said to have held talks, but apparently regulators have warned that they’ll strike down any takeover deal.