SoftBank said to be in talks with US to allay national security fears

The Japanese company will allow the U.S government to approve a director on the Sprint Nextel board tasked with monitoring security issues

The U.S. government is in negotiations with SoftBank for greater control over equipment purchases by Sprint Nextel and the selection of one of the Japanese company's nominee to the U.S. carrier's board, according to a news report.

Dish Network, SoftBank's rival bidder for Sprint, has meanwhile launched an advertising campaign and a website to argue that "the sale of wireless and wireline infrastructure with national strategic importance to a foreign company will weaken the security of the United States."

SoftBank has agreed to give the U.S. government the right to approve one of the directors it names to Sprint's board, who will be responsible for overseeing national security issues, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The government also wants the right to approve some of Sprint's equipment purchases and wants the removal of Chinese equipment from the network of Clearwire, a Sprint affiliate that it intends to acquire, the newspaper said.

SoftBank said in October last year that it had reached a deal to acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint for US$20 billion. Dish, a satellite TV service provider, made a $25.5 billion counter-bid to acquire Sprint last month.

Sprint Nextel said Tuesday it received permission from SoftBank to negotiate with Dish, but said it had not changed its recommendation with regard to the SoftBank offer. SoftBank said it believed that its offer was superior than the one from Dish, and anticipates closing the deal on July 1 or soon after, subject to meeting closing conditions.

Dish has, however, raised the national security issue a number of times to argue its case against SoftBank. It has told the Federal Communications Commission, for example, that a Sprint-SoftBank deal would put more U.S. spectrum than anyone else holds in the hands of a single, foreign-owned company.

This is a theme Dish returned to on its website where among other charges, it states that without "U.S. ownership and control of Sprint, SoftBank's reliance on Chinese equipment manufacturers raises significant national security concerns."

Sprint shareholders are scheduled to vote on SoftBank's bid on June 12.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesDISH NetworktelecommunicationCarrierssecuritysprint nextelSoftbankMergers and acquisitions

More about Federal Communications CommissionIDGNextelSprintWall Street

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place