As expected, both Sprint's deal for Clearwire and its merger with Softbank are now complete. The soap opera is finally over and the #3 wireless carrier in the US and all that valuable spectrum are now 78% Japanese-owned and operated. And the first order of business: no more Nextel.
Yep, they've officially dropped the Nextel name, and will trade as Sprint Corporation -- which seems like something they ought to have done long before actually shutting off the Nextel network a few weeks back.
Of the $21.6B paid by Softbank, $16.6B will go to shareholders, while the remaining $5B will land on Sprint's balance sheet. Dan Hesse will still be CEO, but his Chairman of the board is now Masayoshi Son.
So now what? Of course Sprint wasn't standing still, so they'll still be moving forward with their LTE buildout. But I'm guessing Masayoshi Son will be looking to put his brand on things without much delay. It's been a long 9 months since the deal was announced to plan for the integration, and making this gamble work is now the single biggest, nastiest task on his plate.
There are plenty of ways he might start, from taking an aggressive stance on making use of the Clearwire assets to any sort of move in wireline and on to something more consumer-focused to immediately boost subscriber growth. Or perhaps all three in quick succession. Or he could surprise us all and go buy something else to throw into the pot.
Regardless, the painful post-Nextel era has now come to a close for the folks in Overland Park.
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