Sprint Nextel shareholders voted today to approve Japanese carrier Softbank's offer to purchase 78 percent of Sprint. Shares of the company were up almost 2 percent to $6.99 on the news.
According to a press release, Sprint shareholders overwhelmingly approved the deal, with approximately 98 percent of the votes cast at today’s special shareholders meeting voting in favor of the merger agreement. Softbank has effectively purchased 80 percent of Sprint’s outstanding common stock as of April 18, 2013.
Earlier this month, SoftBank responded to a Dish Network bid for Sprint by raising its bid to $21.6 billion from $20.1 billion, or $7.65 per share.
Sprint's board had unanimously determined that Dish’s $25.5 billion merger proposal for Sprint was unlikely to lead to a “superior offer.” Following a “lack of progress” with Dish, whom Sprint granted clearance for due diligence, Sprint ended discussions with Dish and requested that all financial documents Dish was allowed access to be destroyed. Dish has since bowed out of the bidding for Sprint.
In a statement, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse called today "historic" and thanked the company's shareholders for approving the merger agreement.
“The transaction with SoftBank should enhance Sprint’s long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility,” Hesse said, in a statement.
The deal remains subject to FCC approval. Sprint and SoftBank anticipate the merger will be completed by early July 2013.
Sprint appears to have all its ducks in a row, after Clearwire shareholders last week accepted Sprint’s bid of $5 per share to buy out Clearwire. That decision, which also spurned a previous offer by Dish, values Clearwire at approximately $14 billion and represents a 47 percent premium over Sprint’s previous offer of $3.40 per share.
Clearwire’s board has accordingly adjusted its recommendation and is advising shareholders to vote against Dish’s competing tender offer of $4.40 per share.