3/17/2006

Softbank to Buy Vodafone Mobile Unit

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 7:07 pm

Internet services company Softbank said Friday it is acquiring British mobile phone company Vodafone’s struggling Japan unit for 1.75 trillion yen, or $15 billion, a move that will greatly boost Softbank’s foray into the cell phone business.

The purchase of 97.7 percent of Vodafone Group PLC’s Japan unit will allow Softbank to take over the more than 15 million Japanese users who have signed on to the carrier, as well as its mobile network, instead of building it from scratch.

“Through the purchase of Vodafone in Japan, Softbank can now enter the mobile phone business quickly and fully,” said Softbank President Masayoshi Son, a charismatic businessman and graduate of University of California, Berkeley.

Meanwhile, Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone company by revenue, has faced tough competition from the two biggest mobile phone companies in Japan, NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp.

That competition was expected to intensify further in the fall, when consumers in Japan will be allowed to switch carriers without changing phone numbers.

Source: AP

 

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