TOKYO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Japan's SoftBank Group Corp reported on Wednesday a 71 percent rise in operating profit for the October-December quarter due to shrinking losses at U.S. unit Sprint Corp and a strength in its domestic telecommunications business.
SoftBank, which owns a majority stake in Sprint, said third-quarter profit increased to 295.7 billion yen ($2.63 billion) from 172.8 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.
That beat a Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate of 246.30 billion yen drawn from three analysts. SmartEstimates give greater weight to recent forecasts by top-rated analysts.
Sprint trimmed its quarterly loss as the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier added more subscribers than Wall Street expected.
This was the first full quarter since SoftBank completed a $32 billion acquisition of Britain's most valuable technology company ARM, but SoftBank's earnings are still highly dependent on Sprint and the performance of the domestic telecommunications business. ($1 = 112.3400 yen) (Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)