Softbank sells stake in newly-acquired eAccess

Yahoo Japan has announced its intent to acquire mobile operator eAccess from Softbank for Y324bn (US$3.17bn).

Japanese operator Softbank is selling a portion of its recently acquired subsidiary eAccess to 11 third party firms including infrastructure vendors Ericsson, NSN, Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung. Softbank said that the move would allow the subsidiary to maintain a degree of independence, which it believes will allow eAccess’ continued expansion.

eAccess runs the Emobile brand in Japan, but also operates data services for its MVNO partners. Softbank’s sale of the subsidiary’s shares comes just ten days after Softbank confirmed it had acquired the firm outright for ¥180bn ($2.3bn). As a result of the sale, Softbank’s voting rights in the company will be reduced to 33.3 per cent.

Joining the four aforementioned vendors acquiring a stake in eAccess financial services group Orix, software solutions provider Comverse and five Japanese property leasing companies.

Softbank believes the sale will not hinder it from achieving the benefits it anticipated from making eAccess a wholly-owned subsidiary as was originally planned; the two firms will continue to share a network, and will collaborate on the operation of base station sites.

“Such efforts will cause an increase in cost, however with a steady increase in customer base, it is expected that sales and operating income will exceed the level of the fiscal year ended March 2012, and operating income will exceed ¥700 billion,” Softbank said in a statement.

In October last year, the operator announced its intention to acquire a 70 per cent stake in US operator Sprint. Softbank will invest $20.1bn into Sprint; $12.1bn of which will be paid to its shareholders and $8bn will be used as new capital. The companies expect the transaction to close in mid-2013.

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