Analysts have long said that Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service carrier, needed to merge with a rival to boost market share. Instead, 70% of it was bought in October by Japanese technology company Softbank, which has a lot of debt and no experience providing cell phone service in the U.S.
And it's unlikely Softbank underpaid. At $20 billion (a 27% premium to Sprint's value), the deal ranks as the biggest Japanese overseas acquisitions in history. Softbank's shares fell 20% on news of the deal.
Management changes, backpedaling, and a new sales contender. Some automakers had a great 2012, and some would like to move on to 2013.