Softbank said to win FCC approval for Sprint deal

Two of three commissioners have signed off on Softbank's $21.6 billion deal for the wireless provider, sources tell Bloomberg.

CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Softbank's bid for Sprint Nextel has reportedly won the support it needs from the Federal Communications Commission, the last regulatory approval necessary to complete the $21.6 billion deal.

Two of three members of the FCC have signed off on the deal, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. That approval reportedly extends to Sprint's buyout of mobile broadband provider Clearwire.

Sprint declined to comment. CNET has also contacted Softbank for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Following a bidding war with Dish Network, Sprint shareholders overwhelmingly voted last week to approve an offer from Japan's SoftBank to buy the company. By that point, Dish had said it was dropping its bid for Sprint so it could focus on trying to win the war for Clearwire.

Sprint had announced in December that it planned to buy the remaining shares of Clearwire and combine its network and spectrum assets with its own. That was followed by an unsolicited bid by Dish to acquire Clearwire, which is majority-owned by Sprint.

Sprint has been in talks with Softbank since last October regarding a $20.1 billion offer. After Dish came in with a surprise counteroffer of $25.5 billion, Softbank countered with a $21.6 billion offer it claims gives shareholders greater cash consideration.

Softbank's investment is expected to be a big boost for Sprint, which continues to be mired in red ink. In the first quarter of 2013, the company posted a net loss of $643 million. The increased size achieved by the combined operations could also be a big win for consumers, presumably leading to a better selection of phones, more competitive price plans, and ultimately, better service.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. PT with Sprint declining comment.

 

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