We’ve already said that Japanese fourth largest mobile operator Willcom has filed for bankruptcy. As expected, SoftBank — aka former Vodafone Japan — is stepping in like a vulture to pick up assets it cares about. Actually, that’s a “single asset” called eXtended Global Platform (XGP) business, which will be spun off into a separate company that will SoftBank acquire for JPY3 billion ($33 million).
Rest of the money needed for Willcom’s bailout will come from the state-backed fund the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan (ETIC) and private equity firm Advantage Partners. Advantage will invest JPY5 billion, while the ETIC will offer a credit line of JPY12 billion.
SoftBank is getting a lot for its money, according to Hiroshi Yamashina, an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets in Japan. “SoftBank can gain nationwide networks for just JPY3 billion,” he said.
Will that, however, help SoftBank get closer to two leading operators in the Land of the rising Sun is another story. At the moment, NTT DoCoMo is leading the way with 55 million, while KDDI has 31 million subscribers. SoftBank, on its end, has “only” 22 million people on its network…