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Japan's Softbank Mulling Sprint Bid (Reports)

And the carrier consolidation talks continue at blink-and-you'll-miss-it speeds. Just last week, sources reported that Sprint was mulling the possibility of ponying up a counterbid for MetroPCS to try and break up the small carrier's recent merger agreement with T-Mobile.  That offer never materialized, and now we might have an inkling why.

Japan's Nikkei newspaper reports that Softbank, that country's third-largest carrier, is in talks to possibly buy two-thirds of Sprint's total stock shares, acquiring control of the company in exchange for a vast sum of money. Reuters places the total at "more than $12.8 billion," while the Verge quotes a $19 billion figure.

Softbank's been on a wheeling and dealing roll of late; the company announced a deal to acquire Japanese rival eAccess for $2.3 billion just over a week ago, on October 2nd, it picked up another Japanese carrier named Willcom earlier in the year.

Acquiring majority control of Sprint would do more than just give Softbank its first crack at the U.S. market. The company also hopes that taking over Sprint would help it get better terms from phone and networking equipment manufacturers, the Nikkei reported. Bloomberg reports that both Softbank and Sprint use networking equipment made by Ericsson AB.