It’s been nine months since we first caught wind of Softbank’s $20.6 billion purchase of a majority stake in Sprint, and the story is finally coming to a close.
Here’s the official wording:
SoftBank Corp. will invest approximately USD 21.6 billion (approximately JPY 1.8 trillion*) in Sprint Nextel Corporation and currently anticipates consummating the transaction on July 10, 2013 (EDT).
This comes after a recent bid from Dish for a whopping $25.5 billion, which would have effectively stolen Sprint right from under Softbank’s nose (a nose, I might remind you, worth $20 billion). Dish threw its hat in the ring in April, long after Softbank and Sprint confirmed their betrothal, at a time when networks were consolidating all over the place.
Dish, at the time, was also rumored to be interested in T-Mobile, which itself was in the midst of merging with MetroPCS.
Sprint, the nation’s third largest carrier with 55 million customers, reported that it had formed a committee to assess the offer from Dish. Dish had taken a clear interest in the mobile video consumption habits of wireless users, an idea it had presented to press, analysts, and investors.
Despite considering it, Sprint asked that the FCC continue its review of the Softbank deal, which was 140 days into the 180-day period when Dish made the offer and asked the FCC to halt the process. After all, the duo had put plenty of work into the merger.
Months before this, in December, the Softbank-Sprint deal faced a smaller spat concerning a secondary deal with Sprint and Clearwire. As a term of the Softbank merger, Sprint was not allowed to acquire Clearwire for anything more than $2.97/share, or $2.2 billion. Sprint had originally offered $2.90/share for 100 percent stake in the broadband provider.
Clearwire had told Reuters in mid-December that the offer was simply too low, and that they were looking for something in the range of $5/share. Three days later, however, Sprint closed the deal for exactly $2.97/share, the maximum it could pay under the terms of its agreement with Softbank.
Yet today, seven months after Sprint closed its Clearwire deal, three months after Dish tried to snatch Sprint away from Softbank, and three days after the FCC gave the deal a go, Softbank believes this is the homestretch.