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SoftBank-Sprint Merger Clears National-Security Hurdle

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, has notified Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) and Japanese telecom SoftBank that the committee's investigation of their proposed merger deal has found no unresolved national security issues, the companies announced today.

SoftBank is faced with a rival bid for Sprint from satellite TV provider DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH  ) , which has been saying SoftBank's involvement with China is a national security threat.

In a news release dated May 23, DISH general counsel Stanton Dodge said, "The contrast is clear: DISH does not operate infrastructure dependent on Chinese equipment; DISH does not own nearly a third of the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba; DISH was not affiliated with a company that admitted bribing Chinese officials for telecommunications contracts."

Softbank has bid $20.1 billion for a 70% share of Sprint. DISH has bid $25.5 billion for the company.

Next up, says Sprint, is the completion of the reviews by the "Team Telecom" agencies, including the Department of Justice, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security. Those agencies will then pass on their findings to the Federal Communications Commission, which will determine whether the transaction is in the public interest.

Besides regulatory agency approval, the Sprint-SoftBank merger still has to gain approval of Sprint's stockholders. A vote is set for June 12.

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