SoftBank three months ago offered to acquire Universal Music Group for $8.5 billion in cash, but the group's parent, Vivendi, turned down the offer, The New York Times reports, citing a person briefed on the offer. SoftBank, which is spending $21.6 billion to acquire Sprint Nextel, is looking to expand its worldwide portfolio of businesses, while Vivendi is actively divesting some units, Ben Sisario writes. Universal and Vivendi had no comment on the report, while SoftBank could not be reached.
AT&T Inc. might be interested in buying EchoStar Communications to get a leg up on competition from the cable industry, according to rumors this week. A deal for EchoStar could cost AT&T nearly $13 billion.
Verizon Wireless announced a music service that will allow users to download songs directly to their mobile phones for $1.99, or to their PCs for $.99. The move puts Verizon in competition with Apple Computer, whose iTunes holds a commanding lead in the market, as well as with Sprint Nextel. It also gives the carrier a potentially lucrative new revenue stream to compensate for stagnating voice revenues.