Sprint Nextel is negotiating a deal that would give it control of its partner Clearwire without the need for an acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Sprint holds a 48 percent stake in Clearwire and is negotiating with other shareholders to gain control of the company, according to the report.
A spokesman for Sprint declined to comment.
The deal would give Softbank <9984.TO>, the Japanese company that is set to buy a 70 percent stake in Sprint, access to Clearwire's reserves of broadband spectrum, the report said.
The mobile operator Softbank revealed on Monday it would pay $20.1 billion for the stake in Sprint. The deal for the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier represents the most a Japanese firm has spent on an overseas acquisition.
Part of the Sprint-Softbank deal involves a direct infusion of billions of dollars into Sprint, giving it the firepower to buy peers and build out its 4G network to compete in a market dominated by AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless . After the deal was announced, Clearwire's shares surged 12 percent on anticipation of a possible takeover move by Sprint.
(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Additional reporting by Mari Saito, Tim Kelly and Nicola Leske; Editing by Michael Perry)