Softbank to buy eAccess for $2.3b

Dylan Bushell-Embling
02 Oct 2012

Japan's number three mobile operator Softbank has revealed plans to pay $2.3 billion to acquire eAccess, to help it better compete against its larger rivals.

Through the share swap deal Softbank is offering the equivalent of 52,000 yen ($666) per share for eAccess and its mobile brand eMobile, Bloombergreported - a premium price.

In a presentation, Softbank revealed that the merger is expected to allow the company to slip past second-ranked au by market share.

Prior to the planned acquisition, Softbank currently has 34.91 million mobile customers, for a market share of 25.7%. This compares to au's 35.89 million users and 26.5% market share.

But post-merger, Softbank's user base will grow to 39.11 million, and its market share will increase to 28.8%, the company predicted. NTT DoCoMo will remain in first place with an estimated 44.7% share.

Beyond subscriber gains, the deal will give Softbank's access to eMobile's 1.7-GHz LTE spectrum and its 10,000 1.7-GHz compatible base stations.

According to Softbank, when these base stations are added to the operator's existing LTE network on the 2.1-GHz band, the combined company will have around 30,000 base stations for FDD LTE services by March 2013.

Overall, Softbank is expecting the deal to provide it with synergies from network and customer base expansion and improved management efficiencies totalling 360 billion yen ($4.6 billion).

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