FCC clears SoftBank/Sprint and Sprint/Clearwire deals

The long-running SoftBank/Sprint saga could be heading towards its close, as the Japanese company’s bid for the US operator has cleared a crucial hurdle with the blessing of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to Bloomberg.

Two of the three members of the FCC have backed the deal, according to people familiar with the situation. There is also support from the regulator for Sprint’s offer for the half of Clearwire it does not already own.

SoftBank now appears to be in the final straight of its bid. On 25 June, Sprint shareholders approved the deal, which means SoftBank will own 78 per cent of the US operator. Clearwire investors will vote on Sprint’s offer on 8 July.

The purpose of the FCC review was to determine whether SoftBank taking over Sprint’s spectrum is in the public interest.

Other regulators have signed off on the deal, including the US antitrust and security authorities. Security became a big part of the takeover battle with Dish, which chose to play the patriotic card aggressively. To reassure officials, SoftBank said it will limit the use of equipment from Chinese vendors.

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