Softbank Nears Sprint Nextel Deal

Japanese company Softbank Corp. is near a $20 billion deal to buy a majority stake in Sprint Nextel Corp., people familiar with the matter said, a deal that will give the third-largest U.S. wireless operator more financial firepower to compete with bigger rivals.

Softbank, a Japanese telecom and Internet company, will acquire 70 percent of Sprint by buying $8 billion of shares directly from the wireless carrier and then buying another $12 billion in shares in the market, the people said.

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