By Phil Goldstein
Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) shareholders overwhelmingly approved Japanese operator SoftBank’s offer to acquire 78 percent of Sprint in a $21.6 billion deal, handing SoftBank and its CEO Masayoshi Son a major victory in SoftBank’s quest to outbid Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH).
Sprint said 98 percent of the votes cast at today’s special shareholders meeting voted in favor of the merger agreement with SoftBank, representing around 80 percent of Sprint’s outstanding common stock as of April 18.The FCC still needs to approve the deal, but Sprint and Softbank said they expect the deal to formally close in early July.
Earlier this month SoftBank revised its original proposal to counter Dish’s $25.5 billion counterbid. Dish subsequently abandoned its attempt to get Sprint.
Under the revised deal with SoftBank, Sprint shareholders will get more money and Sprint will get less cash than originally proposed. Sprint shareholders will be paid $5.50 per share instead of $4.02 under the old agreement. SoftBank will get shares from existing Sprint investors for $7.65 per share, up from the previous offer of $7.30.