Sprint Nextel shareholders vote in favour of Softbank $21.6 billion acquisition deal

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Sprint Nextel Corp.’s shareholders on Tuesday approved SoftBank Corp.’s acquisition of the bulk of the wireless carrier company.

Softbank had been competing with Dish Network Corp. since April to acquire Sprint. Sprint opted for Softbank’s $21.6 billion offer for 78 per cent of the company, versus Dish’s $25.5 billion bid for all of Sprint.

CEO Dan Hesse said it was a historic day for the company and said the deal should enhance Sprint’s long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility.

Softbank, based in Japan, is giving Sprint stockholders the choice of $7.65 for each share they hold or one share of New Sprint common stock.

Approximately 98 per cent of the votes at Sprint’s special shareholders meeting Tuesday were in favour of the deal, representing approximately 80 per cent of Sprint’s outstanding common stock.

The companies expect to complete the deal by early July.

Shares of Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kan., increased 13 cents, or 2 per cent, to $7 in midday trading ahead of the broader market’s gains. Its stock value has increased more than 10 per cent since April when the competing bids began.