Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son has confirmed that is company is planning to invest USD16 billion in Sprint over the next two years. In an interview with Japanese news service Nikkei, Son suggested that Softbank seeks to turn Sprint into a more serious challenger to dominant duo AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. He promised that the pace of investment will significantly increase and noted that the bulk of the USD16 billion war-chest will be spent on Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations. The spending will be evenly spread across 2013 and 2014, before decreasing to USD6 billion per annum going forward.
In related news, Clearwire shareholders yesterday approved majority owner Sprint’s purchase of the remaining 49% of the company that it does not already own. Clearwire has confirmed that shareholders owning 82% of the company’s minority shares voted in favour of the deal. In addition, holders of 95% of outstanding shares of common stock, including the 50.2% stake already held by Sprint, also voted their approval of the deal. Sprint, which paid USD5 per share for the remainder of Clearwire, had to raise its offer price three times to fend off a rival approach from satellite TV giant-turned-wireless aspirant DISH Network.