The SoftBank deal is done: Sprint, Clearwire officially turn Japanese

Otosan, SoftBank Mobile's popular TV mascot in Japan

It took nearly eight months, but SoftBank’s $21.6 billion acquisition of a majority stake in Sprint and Sprint’s own takeover of Clearwire are now complete. The companies announced the official closing Wednesday evening. Sprint will remain an independent publicly traded company in the U.S., but Japan’s SoftBank will control 78 percent of its shares.

Dan Hesse will remain CEO of the new Sprint, while SoftBank CEO, chairman and founder Masayoshi Son is now chairman of the Sprint’s board, and SoftBank Holdings President Ronald Fisher is vice chairman. Because Sprint is now a foreign-owned U.S. telecom operator, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen is also joining the board to oversee security matters.

Sprint’s stockholders will see their shares significantly diluted, owning a combined 22 percent of the new company. Most shareholders elected to take SoftBank’s $5.65 per share buyout in exchange for giving up three quarters of their already diluted shares.

It’s a new day for Sprint. SoftBank has already invested $5 billion in the company, and Son has promised to invest billions more to make Sprint a viable challenger to AT&T and Verizon.

But what we all really want to know is when Hesse will start appearing with SoftBank’s macot Otosan in Sprint commercials.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPXL5slQUmY&w=560&h=315]

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