FCC to Approve SoftBank Acquisition of Sprint
July 3, 2013 10:22 AM
It also approved Sprint's request to buy the other half of Clearwire Corp.
Sprint is looking to challenge Verizon and AT&T for market share through
an acquisition by SoftBank Corp.
, and it looks like the government is onboard.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reportedly voted in favor of the acquisition by 3 to 2, and also approved Sprint's request to buy the other half of Clearwire Corp. However, this information hasn't been made public by the FCC yet.
SoftBank, which was founded by billionaire Masayoshi Son, originally wanted to buy 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion back in October. But just last month, SoftBank upped that bid to 78 percent for $21.6 billion.
Son will serve as chairman of Sprint while Ron Fisher, SoftBank Holdings Inc. President, will step in as vice chairman.
SoftBank was competing with Dish Network Corp. for the purchase of Sprint. In April of this year, Dish offered $25.5 billion for the wireless carrier, but had different terms and reportedly never submitted a firm bid.
Now, it looks like SoftBank will help Sprint -- the No. 3 wireless carrier in the U.S. -- take market share from the top two U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T. The company could certainly use its help too, since the $36 billion acquisition of Nextel and lack of newer phones like the iPhone (which it had to wait to sell until after AT&T and Verizon did so) has put the carrier in a financial pickle.
Sprint's shareholders approved the SoftBank acquisition on June 25. About 80 percent were onboard with the idea, and now Clearwire investors are expected to vote on July 8.
While this is good news for Sprint, the carrier has some other issues on its hands. It was reported yesterday that Sprint is facing
a $300 million lawsuit
for not collecting or paying sales taxes properly on the amount of minutes they sell for fixed monthly wireless plans. Instead of doing this, Sprint dubbed a portion of it as nontaxable and failed to collect about 25 percent of the taxes due to governments.
This cost both local and state governments over $100 million, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants $300 million to cover the $100 million lost by state/local governments and for penalties.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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