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Vying for Sprint, Softbank said to bid $8.5B for Universal Music

Vivendi, which owns the world's largest music group, rejects the offer despite its $2 billion premium, the Financial Times reports.

Softbank President Masayoshi Son speaks about the Sprint merger during a Tokyo press conference in April.
Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty

Sprint Nextel apparently wasn't the only company on Softbank's shopping list.

The Japanese wireless carrier made an $8.5 billion cash offer for Universal Music Group three months ago while it was in the thick of a fight for Sprint, according to a Financial Times report. Vivendi, which owns the world's largest music group, reportedly rejected the offer despite its $2 billion premium over the value some analysts have placed on the unit.

CNET has contacted Softbank and Vivendi for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The offer to Vivendi's board was not contingent on the outcome of Softbank's prolonged bidding war with Dish Network for Sprint, the Financial Times reported. However, it was not immediately clear how Softbank would be able to fund both deals.

After Softbank launched a bid to acquire Sprint for $20.1 billion last October, Dish came in with a surprise counteroffer of $25.5 billion. Softbank later sweetened its proposal with a $21.6 billion offer that it said gave shareholders greater cash consideration.

The merger led to a lowering of Softbank's credit rating to junk by Moody's Investor Service on Thursday, suggesting analysts perceive a higher risk of default.

It was also unclear how Softbank might have integrated Universal's extensive music library with its wireless service. But the $8.5 billion offer highlights the growing popularity of mobile music consumption, which is currently dominated by streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora.

Softbank officially sealed its merger with Sprint last week after winning regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission.