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Federal regulators OK SoftBank, Sprint Nextel merger

July 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Federal regulators approved a $21.6 billion merger between Japan's SoftBank and Sprint Nextel, giving the deal national security clearance.

The approval by the Federal Communications Commission paves the way for Sprint Nextel to buy $3.7 billion in Clearwire shares that would give Sprint expanded territory on the wireless spectrum, and help the company compete with the far larger A&T& and Verizon, USA Today reported Saturday.

"After thorough review, the Commission has found that the proposed SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire transactions would serve the public interest," said acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn in a statement.

"The increased investment in Sprint's and Clearwire's networks is likely to accelerate deployment of mobile broadband services and enhance competition in the mobile marketplace, promoting customer choice, innovation and lower prices," Clyburn said.

The FCC's reasoning was based on the point that SoftBank and Sprint Nextel are not domestic competitors, The New York Times reported.

As such, SoftBank would strengthen Sprint Nextel, but not subtract competition in the marketplace at the same time, so it would not harm consumers.

The deal with Clearwire gives Sprint controlling interest in the company. Its wireless spectrum holdings will help Sprint develop a high-speed data network, the Times said.

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