SoftBank Corp <9984.T> would appoint a "security director" to Sprint Nextel's board if its takeover bid succeeds, and would give the U.S. government the right to approve the nominee, an attempt to address security concerns raised by the proposed deal.
Sprint said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 1 that the new director appointed by the Tokyo-based SoftBank would oversee public safety concerns related to Sprint's wireless and wireline operations.
Chinese telecommunications equipment suppliers like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd , the world's second-largest maker of routers and other telecom gear, and ZTE Corp <000063.SZ>, the fifth largest, have been blocked from making big pushes into the United States by national security concerns.
Dish Network Corp , SoftBank's rival for Sprint, is running a campaign against the Japanese firm, trying to convince lawmakers and government reviewers that it poses national security risks.
SoftBank says it is committed to using only network equipment that is acceptable to the U.S. government and will not use equipment from Huawei Technologies in Sprint's network. Dish has not made such promises.
News of the security director nominee proposal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said that the step could cost the company up to $1 billion. (http://link.reuters.com/tat38t)
The paper also said it was unusual for officials to exert such broad influence over how a company is run, citing people who follow such deals.
Sprint declined to comment. SoftBank could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad and Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
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