Entries with tag softbank.

Robots Hawking Coffee Makers in Japanese Retail Stores

A fleet of humanoid robots is selling coffeemakers for Nestle SA in electronics retailers throughout Japan. The company is the first corporate customer for SoftBank’s Pepper robots, which are developed in France and made in Taiwan. In December, 20 robots will be used in Japanese Nestle stores. Nestle plans to eventually have robots in 1,000 stores. Nestle Japan spokesperson Miki Kano told the Japan Times, “We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.” Pepper—which sells for ¥198,000 yen ($1,763)—is also serving as a greeter at SoftBank mobile phone stores in Japan. Pepper will be available to consumers in February 2015. (Reuters)(Japan Times)

Sprint Halts Courtship of T-Mobile US

Sprint has reportedly ended negotiations to acquire T-Mobile US, according to various news sources. Sprint made the decision 5 August 2014 at a board of directors meeting. The cause reportedly was concern that US regulators would find that concerns about combining the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers outweighed the potential benefits, according to the Bloomberg news website. US antitrust regulators wants four national wireless companies competing and likely would have blocked the merger, according to insiders familiar with the deal. The acquisition also would have to have cleared a Federal Communications Commission public-interest review. Other news sources claimed that the financing of the proposed purchase, including how much each company would contribute, was a problem. Sprint is owned by SoftBank, and T-Mobile US is owned by Deutsche Telekom. “If Sprint can’t buy T-Mobile, it will be difficult for Sprint to [continue doing] business,” Yoshihiro Nakatani, a senior fund manager at Asahi Life Asset Management Co., told Bloomberg. Sprint has lost money every year since 2007. Some market observers say Sprint’s decision opens the door for Iliad, a French telecommunications firm that has offered $15 billion for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile US. Dish satellite-TV provider and Mexican telecommunications company America Movil SAB have also expressed interest in acquiring the company. (Bloomberg)(CNET)(The Wall Street Journal)

Japan’s SoftBank Moves into Consumer Robotics

Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank plans to sell robots designed for consumer use, to function as babysitters, nurses, emergency medical workers, and companions, said CEO Masayoshi Son. Son recently demonstrated a prototype robot called Pepper, which will cost ¥198,000 ($1,931). It will be sold at Softbank Mobile stores starting in February 2015. The company has not unveiled plans for introducing Pepper outside Japan. (Reuters)(Associated Press @ Washington Post)(ZDNet)

SoftBank Ups Ante in Bid for Sprint Nextel

Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank has increased its bid from $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in for Sprint Nextel—the US’s third-largest cellular carrier —to $21.6 billion for a 78 percent share. SoftBank has also, as part of the bid, increased its cash offering to shareholders by 5 percent to $7.65 per share. US satellite-TV service provider Dish Network has bid $25.5 billion for Sprint Nextel, worth roughly $7 per share for all the entire company. Dish now has until 18 June to submit a new “best and final” bid. However, Sprint executives have said they do not expect one and have ended talks with Dish. Shareholders are expected to vote on the purchase offers at a 25 June meeting. If approved, this would reportedly be the largest overseas deal by a Japanese firm. (BBC)(The New York Times)

SoftBank Not Changing Bid for Sprint despite Competition

Although facing stiff competition in its quest to buy Sprint Nextel’s wireless business, leading suitor SoftBank is not changing its $20.1 billion bid for 70 percent of the company. Satellite-communications company Dish Network recently made a $25.5 billion counteroffer, giving Sprint shareholders $7 per share and 32 percent equity in the combined DISH/Sprint. Executives with SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications firm, say they expect to complete the Sprint purchase, which regulators are reviewing now, by 1 July. Intel is backing SoftBank in the deal, saying in a recent letter to the US Federal Communications Commission that the merger would bring more competition to the US wireless market. A special meeting for Sprint shareholders to vote on the issue is tentatively scheduled for 12 June. (Reuters)(IT World)

Dish Network Bids $25.5 Billion for Sprint

Satellite TV provider Dish Network has submitted an informal $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel, upping a previous offer from Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank. Dish has offered Sprint shareholders $4.76 in cash and roughly $2.24 in stock that would be financed through $17.3 billion in cash and debt financing. SoftBank offered $20.1 billion in October 2012. Sprint—the third-biggest US cellular provider with 56 million subscribers—has yet to comment on the Dish proposal. Sprint is currently the No. 3 cellphone service provider in the United States with 56 million subscribers nationwide. (ZDNet)(CNNMoney)(The New York Times)(Dish)

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