By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Overland Park, Kansas – Sprint shareholders approved SoftBank’s purchase of a 78 percent stake in Sprint following a competing bid from Dish Networks.
The deal is still subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission. Sprint expects the deal to be consummated in early July.
“The transaction with SoftBank should enhance Sprint’s long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility,” said Dan Heese, CEO of the financially ailing Sprint.
About 98 percent of the votes cast at today’s special shareholders meeting voted in favor of the merger agreement, representing around 80 percent of Sprint’s outstanding common stock as of April 18, which is the record date for the special meeting, Sprint said.
Last year, Softbank reached an agreement with Sprint’s board to purchase a 70 percent stake in the carrier for $12.1 billion plus an infusion of $8 billion in new capital. In April, Dish Network proposed a $25.5 billion merger with Sprint. SoftBank then upped its total bid by 7.5 percent to $21.6 billion for a 78 percent stake at a cost of $16.7 billion plus a $4.9 billion cash infusion into Sprint. Sprint’s board recommended against the Dish bid, in part because it feared Dish would become too indebted to pay for the purchase.
Dish pursued Sprint to diversify into cellular from its mature pay-TV service and add to its cellular-spectrum holdings. SoftBank, a leading Japan carrier, wants to expand its cellular business by entering the U.S. market.
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