As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it has unanimously approved Softbank’s USD21.6 billion takeover of 78% of Sprint Nextel, as well as Sprint’s parallel acquisition of the roughly 50% of Clearwire that it does not already own. Sprint’s shareholders approved the Softbank deal on 25 June, while Clearwire’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on Sprint’s acquisition of its shares later today (8 July).
In an accompanying statement, acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn commented: ‘Today is a good day for all Americans who use mobile broadband services. After thorough review, the Commission has found that the proposed Softbank-Sprint-Clearwire transactions would serve the public interest. The increased investment in Sprint’s and Clearwire’s networks is likely to accelerate deployment of mobile broadband services and enhance competition in the mobile marketplace, promoting customer choice, innovation and lower prices. In addition, the order finds that the indirect foreign ownership of Sprint complies with Section 310 of the Communications Act. I am pleased that the Commission was able to act in a timely manner, voting to adopt an order within two weeks of the parties providing the Commission notice of the revised terms of their transactions’.