China Worries Arise in Sprint Deal

Published on March 28, 2013
by Spencer E. Ante, Danny Yadron and Thomas Gryta

The U.S. government is seeking oversight of network-equipment purchases as a condition for approving Softbank Corp.’s $20 billion acquisition of U.S. phone carrier Sprint Nextel Corp., a move that appears to be aimed at keeping out Chinese suppliers like Huawei Technologies Co., people familiar with the matter said.

U.S. treatment of those suppliers has inflamed tensions between the U.S. and China, which are already sparring over accusations of computer hacking and trade issues. After the House intelligence committee concluded in October that Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE Corp. pose national-security risks because their equipment could be used for spying, China’s Commerce Ministry lashed out, saying the report violated the U.S.’s free-market principles and warning it could undermine cooperation between the countries.

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