Sprint shareholders approve Softbank merger

Softbank now has everything it needs to make the Sprint merger work, now its shareholders have approved the deal. The only thing that stands in the way are its pesky federal friends.

Sprint's shareholders have "overwhelmingly" approved a merger bid by Japanese cellular giant Softbank.

According to the company in a statement on Tuesday, 98 percent of the votes at the special shareholders meeting approved the deal. This represents about 80 percent of Sprint's outstanding common stock as of mid-April. 

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It comes just a week after Dish dropped its pursuit of Sprint after Softbank upped its bid for the U.S. third largest cellular company to $21.6 billion . Dish, though, would continue going after Clearwire in a bid to grab more spectrum.

Both companies are engaged in a landgrab for Clearwire, which Sprint owns 51 percent of shares in . Sprint wants to buy the rest of the shares for $3.40 per share, but can only do that should the Softbank deal go ahead. 

In prepared remarks on the news, Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse said thanked shareholders for approving this "historic" merger agreement for the company. The transaction with Softbank should enhance Sprint's long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility," he added. 

Under the terms of the deal, Softbank will pay $16.6 billion to Sprint shareholders and throw in an additional $5 billion in capital for a 78 percent stake in the carrier. Shares will be valued at $7.65 each, rising from the initial offer of $7.30 per share for a smaller 70 percent stake in the firm.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission still needs to give the final nod to the Sprint-Softbank deal, but the two companies expect the merger to be finalized as soon as early July.