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SoftBank to acquire 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom

This April 16, 2019 file photo shows the logo of SoftBank Group Corp. in Tokyo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- SoftBank Group Corp. said Tuesday it will acquire a 4.5 percent stake in Deutsche Telekom AG in what the two companies termed a strategic partnership, a move that will allow the Japanese technology conglomerate to expand its communications business into Europe.

    The deal, which will make SoftBank the second-largest private shareholder of the German telecommunication giant, allows SoftBank's more than 300 portfolio companies to gain access to some 240 million Deutsche Telekom customers across Europe and the United States.

    SoftBank will acquire 225 million new Deutsche Telekom shares, while retaining "meaningful exposure" to T-Mobile U.S. Inc., whose parent company is the German company, it said.

    In exchange, Deutsche Telekom will receive about 45 million T-Mobile U.S. shares from SoftBank, bringing it closer to its goal of securing direct control over the U.S. telecoms operator.

    "The long-term strategic partnership will create incredible opportunities for our portfolio companies to turbocharge their growth with access to approximately 300 million customers across Japan, Europe and the U.S. in total," said Marcelo Claure, chief operating officer of SoftBank Group.

    The deal followed the merger of Sprint Corp., a U.S. carrier SoftBank acquired in 2013, and T-Mobile in 2020.

    SoftBank Group had owned 304.60 million shares of T-Mobile U.S., or about 24 percent. But between June and August last year, it sold 198.31 million shares to reinforce its finances.

    Deutsche Telekom was set to buy an additional 101.49 million shares of T-Mobile U.S.

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