20 Mar 2006
Japanese telecoms company Softbank is acquiring the Vodafone Group’s ailing Japan unit, Vodafone KK, for JPY1.75 trillion (USD15 billion), to dramatically boost its entry into the domestic mobile phone market. Softbank will buy the UK giant’s 97.7% stake in the carrier and with it, more than 15 million Japanese users who have signed up to its services. In addition, it will inherit its 2G mobile network meaning it will not have to build one from scratch, although it has recently secured a 3G concession. Despite reports of a possible rival bid from investment firms Providence Equity Partners and Cerberus Partners LP, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin says his company’s agreement to sell to Softbank is definitive and will go ahead even if a rival bid emerges.