NEW YORK (
Softbank is close to a $20 billion deal that would give it a 70% stake in
(S), according to published media reports.
Citing anonymous sources familiar with the situation,
The Wall Street Journal and
CNBC reported that Softbank will buy $8 billion of shares directly from Sprint and then another $12 billion of shares in the open market.
Sprint is the No. 3 wireless provider, behind
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The reported Softbank deal will give Sprint more capital to use to compete against those much bigger rivals.
confirmed Thursday that it was in discussions with Japanese firm Softbank about a possible "substantial" investment
reported Sunday that John Taylor, a representative for Sprint Nextel, declined to comment beyond the company's statement Thursday.
Sprint Nextel shares closed Friday down 3 cents at $5.73.