will pay $4 billion for longtime affiliate
Alamosa Holding Co., bringing 1.5 million subscribers in 19 states directly
under its control and short-circuiting a lawsuit.
The cash deal requires approval from Alamosa shareholders and regulators,
but is expected to close during the first quarter.
“As the largest PCS affiliate, we appreciate their efforts over the years to
grow Sprint’s business and we look forward to continuing a strong
relationship with their customers,” Gary Forsee, Sprint Nextel CEO, said in
Buying Alamosa also puts the kibosh on a lawsuit. In August, Alamosa sued
Sprint regarding exclusivity covenants Sprint had with Alamosa’s subsidiary
As part of the buyout, Sprint Nextel and AirGate will seek an immediate stay
of litigation pending in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The case will
end if the deal is consummated.
The purchase of Lubbock, Texas-based Alamosa is the latest in a string of
affiliate acquisitions for Sprint Nextel. This year, it has bought three
others — US Unwired, IWO Holdings and Gulf Coast Wireless — which had more
than 800,000 combined subscribers.
Sprint Nextel, which was formed in August with the merger
of Sprint and Nextel Communications, will have six remaining affiliates.
“We’ve been actively talking with [the remaining affiliates] for some time
to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome,” Nick Sweers, a Sprint Nextel
spokesman, told internetnews.com.