Sprint Nextel Corp is acquiring its largest affiliate, Alamosa Holdings Inc, for approximately $4.3bn in cash, including the assumption of approximately $900m of net debt.
Lubbock, Texas-based Alamosa provides Sprint PCS services to 1.48 million wireless subscribers in 19 states. The deal takes the number of affiliate customers that Sprint has agreed to acquire to more than 2.3 million.
Alamosa employs about 1,300 people, and on a pro forma basis to take account of the acquisition of AirGate earlier this year, revenue in the year to September 30, 2005 was $1.3bn.
The agreement will also end legal action that Alamosa subsidiary AirGate launched against Sprint and Nextel alleging that their $35bn merger breached the exclusivity covenants in its agreements with AirGate because Nextel operates in some of its territories.
Under terms of the deal, Sprint Nextel will acquire all Alamosa’s outstanding common shares for $18.75 each in an agreement expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006.
Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee said the transaction would significantly expand its direct customer base and territory.
As the third largest US cellular operation, Sprint Nextel is currently in negotiations to buy Nextel Partners Inc, which has exercised a put option, forcing Sprint to buy the two-thirds of Nextel Partners it doesn’t already own.