BREAKING NEWS: California Commission Approves SoftBank’s Bid to Buy Sprint
A California state commission voted on Thursday to approve SoftBank’s $20.1 billion bid to buy a majority stake in Sprint Nextel, fulfilling the Japanese company’s necessary quota of state regulatory approvals for its proposed transaction.
With the assent of the California Public Utilities Commission, SoftBank has now secured the support of 23 states and the District of Columbia. That means the Japanese telecommunications firm now needs only approvals from the Federal Communications Commission and the government panel that reviews foreign investments in the country.
The support of the California commission may aid SoftBank in its effort to secure its deal in the face of a rival $25.5 billion offer by Dish Network. SoftBank has argued that its deal can be closed by July, making its proposal more certain than Dish’s, which still needs a host of state and federal government approvals.
But Dish has argued that a SoftBank victory could be complicated by national security concerns. Among the most contentious issues is the use of equipment made by Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, in Clearwire, a network operator of which Sprint is seeking full control.
SoftBank and Sprint have moved to assure lawmakers, including by pledging to remove Huawei equipment from their United States network and by giving the federal government the right to name a director on Sprint’s board.