Shares of Sprint Nextel surged Thursday as it negotiated with Japanese wireless carrier Softbank, which might buy a controlling stake in the company.
Sprint Nextel's ( stock jumped 18% in morning trading. )
"Sprint is currently involved in discussions with Softbank regarding a potential substantial investment by Softbank in Sprint," said Sprint in a prepared statement.
Sprint said "such a transaction could involve a change of control," but it emphasized that there are "no assurances" that the deal will go through.
The share price for Internet service provider Clearwire ( also surged, climbing 40% in morning trading, as CNBC reported that Clearwire might also get taken over as part of the deal. )
Sprint Nextel is the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States, trailing AT&T ( and )Verizon ( in market share. But the company has continued to lose money, despite finally adding )Apple's ( )iPhone to its network last year.
A spokesperson for Softbank Corp ( was not immediately available for comment. )
There had been speculation that Sprint Nextel would make a counteroffer for MetroPCS (, which )recently agreed to merge with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA unit. Shares of MetroPCS fell 5% in early trading.