Sprint Nextel said Tuesday that it will buy Virgin Mobile USA for $5.50 per share in a stock deal valued at $483 million.
Sprint already owns 13.1 percent of the prepaid mobile operator. Virgin Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, which means it uses another carrier's network to offer its service. The company uses Sprint's CDMA network.
The transaction, which is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2009 or in early 2010, represents a 31 percent premium over Virgin Mobile's Monday closing share price of $4.21.
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