Sprint to acquire iPCS for $831 million

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Sprint is reportedly locked in to purchase its affiliate iPCS for $831 million ($24 a share, a 34% premium), in a deal that will bring an end to the companies' legal disputes. Sprint will fork over some $426 million in cash, in addition to eating $405 million of iPCS' debt. The companies have been bickering for years over territorial exclusivity rights.

The agreement may allow Sprint to keep the iDEN assets it was given 360 days to divest back in February, after a court ruled that Sprint violated agreements with iPCS by operating its iDEN networks in territory that iPCS held exclusive rights to. Sprint is expecting to gain more than 700,000 direct customers and 270,000 wholesale customers from iPCS' 12.6 million in the deal, adding to its 49 million-strong customer base.

The companies hope to close the deal in late 2009 or early 2010 upon regulatory approval. Following news of the acquisition, iPCS stock climbed 33% to $23.83 per share -- Sprint's remained mostly flat at $3.47.

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