FCC approves Softbank's $21.6B acquisition of Sprint

With US government approval secured, Softbank could own Sprint later this month

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved the $21.6 billion acquisition of Sprint by Japanese telecommunications group Softbank, saying it promises to bring consumers faster and more advanced wireless broadband Internet service.

The go-ahead from the FCC was the final hurdle to Softbank consummating the deal. Sprint shareholders in late June approved the acquisition that will see Softbank pay $7.64 per share, for a total of $16.64 billion in cash, and invest about $5 billion of new capital into Sprint. It will own 78 percent of the new company.

Friday's decision also helps clear the way for Sprint to take full control of Clearwire, a struggling but spectrum-rich wireless broadband provider. Sprint already owns just over half of Clearwire, which provides the network for its 4G WiMax service, and is planning to spend $3.7 billion to acquire the rest of the company.

Clearwire shareholders are due to vote on that plan on July 8.

"Today is a good day for all Americans who use mobile broadband services," said Mignon Clyburn [cq], acting chairwoman of the FCC, in a statement. "The increased investment in Sprints and Clearwires networks is likely to accelerate deployment of mobile broadband services and enhance competition in the mobile marketplace, promoting customer choice, innovation and lower prices."

Analysts see the deals creating a telecom carrier that will be better matched against market-leaders AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The new company will start with about half the number of subscribers of its bigger rivals, but will have nearly twice the radio spectrum in major metropolitan areas, analysts say.

"Just two years ago, the wireless industry was at the doorstep of duopoly, but with these transformative transactions, we are one step closer to a stronger Sprint which will better serve consumers, challenge the market share leaders and drive innovation in the American economy," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in a statement.

Sprint said it expects that the transactions will close in early July, subject to the remaining closing conditions.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentregulationMergers and acquisitionsbusiness issuestelecommunicationsprintClearwireSoftbankCarriers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?