Virgin Mobile USA Closes Helio Acquisition

Virgin Mobile USA (NYSE: VM) said today it received all regulatory approvals for its acquisition of Helio. With the deal completed, Virgin Mobile will be able to expand its services from only pre-paid to also postpaid and to offer higher-end data services. In all, Virgin Mobile is getting more out of the transaction than either of Helio’s shareholders SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) or Earthlink (NSDQ: ELNK), which will receive 13 million shares with a value of $38 million. Virgin will not only gain 170,000 Helio customers, but it also was able to renegotiate its deal with SprintNextel to lower the cost per minute by 8 percent in 2009. SK Telecom and Virgin Group are also both investing $25 million in the combined entity, which will lower the company’s debt. Release.

Dan Schulman, Virgin Mobile USA’s CEO said: “Adding Helio’s differentiated postpaid offer to Virgin Mobile USA’s existing portfolio will expand both our market opportunity and our ability to deliver new products and services more rapidly…We look forward to revealing our roadmap for expanded, innovative offers in the near future.”