Sprint investors accept Softbank offer

Dylan Bushell-Embling
26 Jun 2013

After a long and twist-filled bidding process, Japan's Softbank has finally clinched the acquisition of a 78% stake in US operator Sprint Nextel.

Sprint shareholders yesterday overwhelmingly approved Softbank's raised $21.6 billion takeover offer at a special investor meeting, the companies announced.

Around 98% of the votes cast at the meeting were in favor of the acquisition, with the shareholders voting to approve holding around 80% of Sprint's common stock.

Sprint investors will now be able to choose to receive either $7.65 or one New Sprint share for every Sprint share they currently own. The share purchase component of the acquisition price is $16.64 billion.

The deal does still require the approval of the FCC, but the agency is not expected to stand in the way.

Softbank had originally arranged to pay $20.1 billion for a 70% stake in Sprint in a deal first

announced in October last year.

But US satellite TV and telecom services provider Dish Network subsequently made an unsolicited $25.5 billion counter-offer for 100% of Sprint, and started making noise about alleged national security implications of the proposed Sprint-Softbank deal.

Softbank originally claimed it would not raise its offer in response, insisting that its bid was still superior to Dish's, which was contingent on factors including Dish being able to raise the cash.

But earlier this month, Softbank raised its offer price from $7.30 per share to $7.65, and increased the percentage of Sprint shares it committed to buying to 78% from 70%.

Dish then revealed it did not plan to top this increased bid, and will instead focus its attention on its offer for Clearwire, Sprint's 50%-owned wireless broadband affiliate.

But after Sprint upped its separate offer for the rest of Clearwire to $5.00 a share – higher than the $4.40 Dish was offering – the Clearwire board endorsed the Sprint offer.

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