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Sprint Silences iPCS With Close of $831M Takeover

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) on Friday ended a series of legal battles when it completed the purchase of affiliate iPCS Inc. The Kansas-based wireless carrier received all of the necessary regulatory approvals for the deal on Nov. 25.

iPCS was to be delisted from the Nasdaq exchange on Friday evening and, afterward, digested into Sprint’s operations. That means the lawsuits iPCS has filed against Sprint will disappear.

Earlier this year, iPCS raised a legal stink over the then-pending Sprint-Virgin Mobile merger, insisting Sprint was violating non-compete agreements in iPCS territories. iPCS also sued Sprint in 2008 over the Clearwire WiMAX partnership. The Virgin Mobile case came as the last straw for Sprint, though – it announced in October it would buy the long-time reseller.

Sprint has a history of silencing affiliates who cry foul over competitive problems. Two years ago, it snapped up Northern PCS to dodge lengthy legal action and, in 2006, bought UbiquiTel Inc. for the same reasons.

Now, Sprint, the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier, gets to add more than 700,000 iPCS customers to its subscriber rosters. And the numbers surely won’t hurt Sprint’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Sprint paid $24 for each outstanding common share of iPCS stock in a deal that totaled $831 million, including the assumption of $405 million net debt.


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