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Leap Wireless (UNKNOWN: LEAP.DL ) will no longer be an independent company. It has agreed to be acquired by telecom giant AT&T (NYSE: T ) , both firms announced in a joint press release. The price is $15 per share in cash, for a total of around $1.19 billion.
For its money, AT&T will be the new owner of Leap's stock, wireless properties, network assets, and spectrum that covers a total of around 137 million people. It will also obtain its acquisition's chain of retail stores, and its roughly 5 million subscribers. Additionally, AT&T will have a contingent right to the net proceeds of the potential sale of a block of spectrum in Chicago that Leap acquired in August 2012 from Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) .
A less-appealing facet of Leap's business AT&T will have to contend with is the smaller telecom's estimated $2.8 billion in debt.
Leap sells its retail offerings under the budget Cricket brand. Both firms said that AT&T will retain that name, and expand Cricket's offerings to other markets in the U.S.
According to AT&T and Leap, holders of nearly 30% of the latter's shares "have entered into an agreement to vote in favor of the transaction." In addition to such approval, the deal is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. AT&T believes it will close in six to nine months.
Leap's stock price more than doubled in after-hours trading following the announcement, from $7.98 per share to $16.90. Shares of AT&T were off slightly post-market, slipping by $0.01 (0.03%), to $35.80.