US private equity firm Ripplewood is reported to be ready to sell Japan Telecom (JT) to the country’s largest provider of broadband ADSL services, Softbank, just nine months after acquiring the operator from Vodafone. Ripplewood paid the UK mobile operator USD2.3 billion in July 2003 in a leveraged buy-out of JT. The sale is expected to ramp up competition in the telecoms sector and drive growth for broadband. Softbank has around 4.07 million subscribers and will bolster this with JT’s customer base of 1.67 million internet access customers. It is understood that Ripplewood will use the proceeds of the sale to take a stake in Softbank.