SoftBank Reaches Agreement with Sprint, Which Buys Majority Share in Clearwire

The dominos are beginning to fall when it comes to Sprint’s modernization plan.  Back on October 12, we brought you the news that Japanese carrier SoftBank was in talks to make an investment in Sprint.  As of this morning a deal has been reached.  In a $20 billion deal, SoftBank will take  a 70% stake in Sprint, with current Sprint investors having a 30% in the new company which will retain the Sprint name and CEO Dan Hesse.

For the financial details, SoftBank will buy 55% of the existing Sprint’s stock at $7.30 per share for just over $12 billion.  The deal will also provide an additional $8 billion, including a $3.1 billion bond, that will be used to get the carrier’s financials in order and expand the network.  SoftBank will provide its expertise to Sprint in its rollout of a LTE network, but appears to standing hands off in operations, at least initally.

Speaking of that network expansion, Sprint may have taken its first step towards the needed bandwidth after taking a controlling stake in Clearwire. According to Reuters, Sprint bought shares formerly belonging to Eagle River Holdings to take a 50.8 control in the wireless internet provider.  This could allow Sprint to refarm Clearwire’s 2.5ghz spectrum currently used by their WIMAX network to a TD-LTE network similar to SoftBank which uses the 2.5ghz spectrum in Japan.  While there was specifically no requirement that Sprint take any action regarding Clearwire in the deal, this move was not unexpected.

Sprint/Soft Bank Press Release.