While recent rumors suggested Sprint could be interested in snatching up Metro PCS, it may actually be the target of an acquisition.The Nikkei, Reuters and Wall Street Journal report it is in final buyout talks with Japanese carrier Softbank at a price in excess of 1 trillion yen ($12 billion US). Just over a week ago Softbank snapped up rival eAccess in a billion dollar deal that added 50 percent more base stations to its LTE network and will move it from third to second largest in the country when it is completed. It got to third place with a leveraged buyout of Vodafone's Japanese arm back in 2006, and CEO Masayoshi Son mentioned last week that he has his eye on the number one spot. We're not exactly sure how a potential purchase of the third place American carrier fits into its plans (or what this means for Sprint's future, its LTE rollout and its often woeful 3G speeds), but we're betting Softbank's CFO is just trying to keep Son away from any juicy looking eBay "Buy It Now" auctions.
Update: Looks like those reports were on the money: Sprint just released a statement confirming it is in talks with Softbank about a possible transaction. Find that terse press release embedded below.