The major buyout deal between Sprint and Japanese telecommunications provider Softbank is one step closer to finalized. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal, handing it over for approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In October 2012, Softbank offered Sprint $20 billion for a 70 percent stake in the company. Deal conversations were brought to a halt, however, when the concerns about national security were brought up. In March, regulators began to voice their concerns about Chinese spyware slipping into U.S. networks through the Softbank relationship. Later, in January, the DOJ, alongside the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, launched an investigation into the deal, further stunting its process through FCC approvals.
That investigation didn’t seem to rustle up much, as the DOJ approved the deal yesterday in a letter the FCC. In the letter, the DOJ explained that it analyzed the “measures” Sprint and Softbank have taken to ensure national security as well as the supply chain. It’s now the FCC’s turn to green light the deal, and Softbank is seemingly confident. The company released a statement in April saying it believes the deal will be finalized by July, and that it’s deal is better than a second offer Sprint received from Dish Networks during the DOJ’s investigation.
The U.S. cable provider topped Softbank’s offer, saying it would pay $25.5 billion for majority control of the company. If Softbank’s timeline is correct, we assume we’ll hear more about Sprint’s interest in the Dish deal soon.