Softbank Offers To Buy Willcom from Carlyle

TOKYO (Reuters) – Softbank Corp (9984.T), Japan’s No. 3 wireless carrier, is offering to buy struggling telecom firm Willcom Inc, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday.

Willcom, whose top shareholder is private equity firm Carlyle Group, is in the middle of turnaround efforts, asking its creditors to reschedule its debt payment.

Softbank is seen as a favoured bidder among several likely contenders including some funds, and Carlyle is likely to decide the buyer by the end of the year, Yomiuri said.

Softbank is eyeing Willcom’s next-generation high-speed wireless network and its subscribers, the paper said. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka)