SoftBank is scaling down its Silicon Valley operations...
According to a...
SoftBank today announced it has acquired DramaFever, a Korean online video subscription service. DramaFever houses series and films from more than 70 broadcasters and studios across Asia, Europe and the Americas. The company also syndicates a portion of its library to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. DramaFever says it has a reach of approximately 20 million unique monthly viewers.
SoftBank has bid $3.4 billion to buy Dreamworks, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Japanese telecom and majority owner of Sprint could be seeking to buy the animation studio. But a Wall Street Journal report suggests a deal between the two could amount to a content distribution partnership or a SoftBank investment.
Iliad will either improve or drop its bid to buy T-Mobile by mid-October, according to Reuters. The French carrier is reportedly in talks with several U.S. banks and existing lenders HSBC and BNP Paribas to improve its $33 per share bid for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile.
Iliad Chief Financial Officer Thomas Reynaud said the deal could still “evolve” and that his company is currently talking with potential partners, some American, about possibly bidding for an increased stake. Reynaud told reporters that the possible partners were either industrial competitors or private equity firms.
David Owens, senior vice president of product development for Sprint, said the company will sell the device for a suggested retail price of $239 and sell it outright to prepaid customers for $149. The Aquos Crystal supports Sprint’s HD Voice product, as well as the company’s high-speed Spark network.
Incoming CEO Marcelo Claure will still have his hands full as he looks to reassure investors that Sprint has a plan beyond buying T-Mobile. Already shares of Sprint were down 15 percent Wednesday morning on reports that SoftBank was killing the deal for T-Mobile.
Sprint this morning confirmed reports that CEO Dan Hesse is leaving the company. Brightstar CEO Marcelo Claure will take over as President and CEO at Sprint, effective Aug. 11. “In the short-term, we will focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace. While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint,” Claure said in a statement.
T-Mobile is rejecting Iliad’s surprise bid to buy out the carrier, according to the Wall Street Journal. But Reuters is reporting that Iliad is already reaching out to other investors in an attempt to sweeten the deal. The carrier has reportedly talked with Dish Network, Cox Communications and Charter Communications.
It’s worth noting that the $18.7 million Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was awarded in 2013 will not vest or be paid out until 2018 and that a portion of the $16.7 million has not been vested or paid out yet either. Because the $18.7 million is tied to equity, the amount paid out when it vests in 2018 will be dependent on the stock price at that time, meaning it could be subject to change.
Dish's Vice President of Wireless David Zufall said that it’s more than a proof of concept since it was built in a way that it could be rolled out nationwide. Dish updated its billing system and adopted procedures for its technicians specifically for the project. “We’re getting significantly greater coverage than you would for a mobile service at 2.5 [GHz],” Zufall said.
Sprint and T-Mobile are raising $10 billion to jointly bid in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auctions, according to the Wall Street Journal. This follows an earlier Bloomberg report saying Sprint and T-Mobile are planning a joint venture, to be run by T-Mobile, for bidding in the auction. The $10 billion for spectrum is reportedly part of the $45 billion SoftBank is rounding up from lenders.
Lenders are demanding higher fees for financing the deal to offset the review process that could last at least a year, according to Bloomberg. Part of the money Sprint and SoftBank are requesting from lenders is being earmarked for spectrum. The report said Sprint and T-Mobile will enter into a separate joint venture and bid on spectrum available in upcoming FCC auctions.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile are surging in the markets after Nikkei reported SoftBank has reached an agreement to buy a controlling T-Mobile stake from Deutsche Telekom (DT). Sprint was up nearly four percent and T-Mobile was up 1.5 percent as of 1:15 p.m. CT.
In his prepared remarks, CEO Randall Stephenson outlines AT&T’s plans to bring broadband access to customers in 48 states, with 80 percent of the locations outside of the company’s wireline footprint. Using “fixed wireless” that combines dedicated spectrum and professional installation, he said the combined companies will be able to offer 15-20 Mbps home broadband to customers as part of a package or as a standalone service.
CNBC is reporting that Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed to a $2 billion breakup fee should their potential merger not go through. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported the breakup fee attached to the merger would be $1 billion. The two companies have also reportedly agreed on T-Mobile as the name for the combined company, lending credibility to reports that T-Mobile CEO John Legere is in line to lead after the merger.
A cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son who says robots should be tender and make people smile. Son's mobile phone company Softbank said Thursday that the robot it has dubbed Pepper will go on sale in Japan in February for 198,000 yen ($1,900).
Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal peg the price for T-Mobile at around $40 per share. The Bloomberg report said Sprint will offer DT 50 percent cash and 50 percent stock for part of its 67-percent stake in T-Mobile, leaving DT with a 15-percent interest in the U.S.’s fourth largest carrier.
Deutsche Telekom (DT) has reportedly accepted SoftBank’s offer for T-Mobile, according to Kyodo News. Reports surfaced earlier this year suggesting DT wanted an all-cash offer for its 67-percent stake in T-Mobile, valued around $26 billion. If the reports are true, the deal would come less than one year after SoftBank closed its $21.6 billion deal for a majority stake of Sprint.
As Sprint is reportedly moving ahead with its bid for T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom (DT) is reportedly requesting a more than $1 billion breakup fee should regulators block the merger. DT, which owns 67 percent of T-Mobile, is requesting the lucrative safety as well as seeking assurances that the T-Mobile brand and some of its management team would remain in place following the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said T-Mobile would have “strategic interest” to his company if Sprint’s rumored bid for the carrier falls through. Ergen said Dish doesn’t have the money to outbid Sprint for T-Mobile, or AT&T for DirecTV for that matter, but added that Dish has to be “well positioned so that no matter what happens” and that he thinks “we're there,” according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript.
Masayoshi Son doesn't give up easily. That's the take from a Bloomberg report Thursday that claims Sprint is moving ahead with a bid to acquire T-Mobile. According to the report, Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer and Treasurer Greg Block have recently held meetings with six banks to ensure financing is ready for a T-Mobile bid. Sprint will likely put forth a bid in the June-July timeframe.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has reportedly proposed limitations for AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who together hold the majority of available low-band spectrum licenses. But the FCC based its rules on “current market structure” and would reconsider if a Sprint-T-Mobile tie-up proceeded, according to a Reuters report.
Masayoshi Son said that if only the big two U.S. carriers are increasing market share—from 56 percent to 73 percent in the last five years—the U.S. wireless market will continue at status quo. “We would like to have partnership with the rural carriers which we do not overlap,” Son said while speaking with press after his keynote.
In this week's episode of SmartWatch, brought to you by SanDisk, we take a look at HTC's new One flagship smartphone, as well as sneak peak at the Competitive Carriers Association's (CCA) annual expo. We also managed to get Stephen Elop's thoughts on just exactly why the Nokia/Microsoft deal has been delayed.
Speaking Thursday at the CCA Global Expo Masayoshi Son talked about the need for teamwork between Sprint and the carrier members of the CCA in order to take a “real fight” to the AT&T and Verizon “duopoly.” And he had the GSMA Intelligence numbers to back up his doubt.
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