FCC Backs SoftBank-Sprint, Sprint-Clearwire

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Sprint got the news it was waiting for from the Federal Communications Commission over the long holiday weekend.

The FCC voted unanimously to approve SoftBank’s application to buy 78 percent of America’s third-largest wireless operator for $21.6 billion, and Sprint’s bid to buy the remaining half of Clearwire that it doesn’t already own. The Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier is paying $5 per share for the spectrum-rich broadband provider, valuing Clearwire at $14 billion.

Clearwire shareholders followed up Monday by overwhelmingly approving the merger, which could close as soon as Tuesday.

That wraps all federal government reviews of the mergers. Sprint shareholders approved the SoftBank transaction with Sprint on June 25.

Just two years ago, the wireless industry was at the doorstep of duopoly, but with these transformative transactions, we are one step closer to a stronger Sprint which will better serve consumers, challenge the market share leaders and drive innovation in the American economy,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

This officially brings to a close a months-long saga with DISH Network, which late last month pulled back on its efforts to buy Sprint and Clearwire in an attempt to get into the wireless game. Sprint wants to expand its LTE network and offer more high-speed services.

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