SoftBank shares open 12.5% higher after T-Mobile-Sprint merger approval


FILE PHOTO: People walk behind the logo of SoftBank Corp in Tokyo December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp shares opened 12.5% higher on Wednesday morning after a federal judge approved the takeover of its U.S. wireless unit Sprint Corp by T-Mobile US Inc.

A deal would allow SoftBank, which reports its earnings on Wednesday, to offload a troubled asset when its other tech bets are facing investor scepticism and it is struggling to raise funds for a successor to its $100 billion Vision Fund.

A federal judge rejected a claim by a group of states that the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger would violate antitrust laws and raise prices.

One of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s big overseas bets, Sprint has weighed down the group as it struggles to compete with bigger rivals.

The news sent Sprint shares soaring 78%, with T-Mobile shares climbing 12%.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Tom Hogue

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