Sprint agrees to buy iPCS in $831M deal

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Monday, 19 October 2009

Sprint agrees to buy iPCS in $831M deal

Kansas City Business Journal -- Sprint Nextel Corp. has agreed to buy wireless affiliate iPCS Inc. for a deal valued around $831 million, including about $405 million of debt.

Overland Park-based Sprint  said in a Monday release that it will offer to buy all outstanding common shares of iPCS (Nasdaq: IPCS) for $24 a share, a 34 percent premium compared with iPCS’ Friday closing price of $17.88. Shareholders of about 9.5 percent of the outstanding shares of iPCS have agreed to the offer.

The two companies have had a contentious relationship since Sprint bought Nextel Communications Inc. in 2005. The proposed transaction includes an agreement that the companies will seek an immediate stay of all pending litigation, Sprint said in the release. If the proposed transaction is completed, Sprint won’t be required to divest its iDEN network in certain iPCS territories and will end its previously announced divestiture process pending closing of the transaction.

Sprint had said in June that it was trying to sell parts of its Nextel network in the Midwest because of a February ruling by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., ordering Sprint to stop owning, operating and managing the part of the Nextel network that competed with iPCS, based in Schaumburg, Ill.

iPCS sued Sprint last month in the same court regarding Sprint’s planned acquisition of prepaid wireless reseller Virgin Mobile USA Inc.

iPCS also filed suit against Sprint, which is still in litigation, related to Sprint’s deal to turn over its WiMAX assets to Clearwire Corp. last year.

Sprint said in Monday’s release that its proposed purchase of iPCS is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions and is expected to close late in the fourth quarter or early in 2010. Sprint said it expects to achieve about $30 million of synergies annually from the transaction.

“Acquiring iPCS brings added value to Sprint by expanding our direct customer base, growing our direct coverage area and simplifying our business operations,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in Monday’s release. “Customers in iPCS territory will see a seamless transition and continue to enjoy a superb customer experience.”

iPCS sells wireless products and services under the Sprint brand to about 710,200 subscribers in 81 markets.

Sprint is the nation’s No. 3 wireless carrier, with about 49 million customers. It ranks No. 1 on the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of the area’s top public companies.

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