(AP) Shares of Sprint Nextel climbed more than 18 percent in premarket trading on a report that the company is in advanced talks to be acquired by Japanese cellphone company Softbank Corp. in a transaction valued at more than $12.8 billion.
The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source with knowledge of the talks, says that the potential deal would help Softbank Corp. expand outside of Japan.
Sprint Nextel Corp.'s stock rose 93 cents to $5.97 before the market open.
A Softbank representative says the story is "based on speculation" and added, "We do not comment on speculation."
A Sprint representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
The report comes a little over a week after T-Mobile and MetroPCS announced that they have agreed to combine their cellphone businesses in order to better compete against rivals like Sprint.