According to recent media reports, a U.S. judge finally approved T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint, a U.S. subsidiary of Softbank Group in Japan. This good news stimulated SoftBank’s stock price to rise 13% in early trading on Wednesday. Sprint and T-Mobile shares also climbed 78% and 12%, respectively.
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The sale of Sprint will help Japanese billionaire Son Masayoshi in several ways. SoftBank will no longer face the risk of having to finance this wireless operator, with huge debts (about $40 billion) to be stripped from its balance sheet, and Sun Zhengyi will have greater flexibility to raise funds for stock returns. With Sprint’s sale nearing completion, Son will have greater financial flexibility. The transaction will not bring new capital, as Sprint shares held by SoftBank will be converted into shares of the combined entity.
SoftBank Group will announce the fourth quarter of 2019 financial results on Wednesday in the US. However, analysts estimate that its operating profit will decline by about 20%. Analysts believe the judge’s approval of the deal is clearly good news for Sprint and SoftBank. T-Mobile and Sprint expect the transaction to be completed as early as April 1. Including today’s gains, SoftBank shares have risen about 20% so far this year.