Sprint Nextel Corp shareholders gave the OK to a sweetened takeover offer from SoftBank Corp on Tuesday, bringing the takeover battle for Sprint to a close. Satellite TV provider Dish had also made a bid for the number 3 U.S. wireless carrier, but dropped out in the face of SoftBank’s higher bid.
Japan’s SoftBank, which fought Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) to buy Sprint, now just needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. telecommunications regulator, to close the deal.
According to Sprint, about 80 percent of its shares outstanding were voted in favor of the $21.6 billion deal that would leave SoftBank with 78 percent ownership of the company.
Sprint released a statement that it was sticking by its previously announced target of July for the close of the deal.
SoftBank increased its bid on June 10th, from $20.1 billion to $21.6 billion. It also raised the cash component for shareholders by $4.5 billion. The move trumped Dish’s bid, and gained support from Sprint’s second biggest shareholder Paulson & Co. who had previously said it preferred Dish’s bid.
Dish dropped out of the bidding after SoftBank increased its bid.
The deal would mark the largest takeover of an overseas company by a Japanese firm. SoftBank is looking to expand beyond the mature Japanese cellphone market.
Sprint needed the infusion from the SotBank acquisition to help pay for a network upgrade, and a proposed buyout of minority shareholders of Clearwire Corp. Sprint already holds a majority stake in Clearwire.