YOU ARE AT:CarriersSprint Nextel closes on U.S. Cellular deal

Sprint Nextel closes on U.S. Cellular deal

Sprint Nextel said it has closed on its $480 million acquisition of a handful of markets from regional carrier U.S. Cellular. The deal included operations in Chicago, St. Louis and a handful of markets in the Midwest and spectrum assets in the 1.9 GHz band.

The deal originally was to include approximately 585,000 customers when announced last November, but at close Sprint Nextel said the deal included approximately 420,000 subscribers.

As for transitioning those customers, Sprint Nextel said it will be offering incentives to impacted subscribers through its traditional postpaid offering as well as those through its various prepaid services. The carrier added that U.S. Cellular’s network in those markets will continue to operate during the “months-long transition period,” before eventually turning down that network. Sprint Nextel added that the deal will help bolster its spectrum position in select markets as it moves to expand its LTE offering.

U.S. Cellular promptly turned most of the proceeds from the deal over to shareholders, announcing a special cash dividend of $5.75 per common share and series A common share, for an aggregate amount of approximately$481 million. That payment is set to be made on June 25 to shareholders of record as of June 11. U.S. Cellular’s stock (USM) surged 5% on Friday to $39.70 per share, just off its 52-week high of $41.54 per share. U.S. Cellular’s stock was trading at around $34 per share after it first announced the deal.

U.S. Cellular previously noted that as part of the deal it would shutter its Bolingbrook, Ill., customer care center at the beginning of this year, and moving those operations and most of those employees to an existing vendor partner. U.S. Cellular operates additional customer care centers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Waukesha, Wisc.

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