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Vodafone in talks to sell Japanese unit to Softbank

Evan Blass

UK-based wireless carrier Vodafone has acknowledged that it is in talks with Softbank to sell a majority stake in its Japanese operations, which have lagged behind industry leaders NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. Softbank recently acquired a 3G license for Japanese service, and after approaching Vodafone last year in an MVNO capacity, have come back with an outright attempt to purchase the entire unit. Analysts estimate that Vodafone's business in Japan could be worth as much as $12.3 billion, and shares of the international carrier rose 8.56% on Friday after the announcement. Remarking on Vodafone's troubled entry into the 3G space, one London-based analyst commented, "Japan has been a major drag on profit margins recently...If this is an opportunity to exit at the right price, then Vodafone should jump at it."

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