The Sprint-Softbank soap opera is finally nearing its end: Sprint’s shareholders “overwhelmingly” approved the company’s $21.6 billion merger with Softbank today, which gives the Japanese company a 78 percent stake in the telecom.

The closure obviously comes as a relief for Sprint, which has found itself in the middle of an increasingly confusing acquisition imbroglio between not only Softbank but Clearwire and Dish as well.

“The transaction with SoftBank should enhance Sprint’s long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement.

While the acquisition is still subject to some regulatory approval, there’s little reason to suggest that the Federal Communications Commission will stand in the way of the deal (the Justice Department already gave it the green light).

The more interesting question, as Roger Entner of Recon Analytics points out, is what the Sprint-Softbank deal means for  Sprint’s attempts to acquire Clearwire. “The combined Sprint/Clearwire will have twice as much spectrum as AT&T or Verizon with only half the number of subscribers,” Entner said in an analyst note today.