The US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved Japanese carrier SoftBank's plan buy a 70 percent stake in Sprint, paving the way for a vote next month. SoftBank, which made its plans public in October of last year, says it's now urging Sprint's shareholders to approve the $20 billion deal at a meeting on June 12th. If approved, SoftBank hopes the acquisition could close in July, putting control of America's third-largest carrier in the hands of a Japanese telecom juggernaut.
SoftBank, however, isn't the only one interested in Sprint. Dish has attempted to undercut the acquisition with its own $25.5 billion merger, prompting a furious volley of words between the two competitors' CEOs. SoftBank's Masayoshi Son has called Dish's last-minute offer "incomplete and illusory," and while Dish has attempted to argue that an American carrier is better off with another American company, Intel's outgoing CEO has said that a SoftBank deal could provide competition for the AT&T / Verizon duopoly.
If Sprint shareholders vote in favor of SoftBank, though, the two will still need to get the blessing of other American regulatory agencies. In January, the Department of Justice asked the FCC to delay approving the acquisition in order to allow more time for review, something that could throw a wrench in SoftBank's plan for a speedy buyout.