“Prepaid is growing at an unprecedented rate with consumers keenly focused on value. Virgin Mobile is an iconic brand in the marketplace that will complement our Boost Mobile brand,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel president and chief executive officer in a statement.
Virgin, based in New Jersey, uses the Sprint network for its service. It has competed head-to-head for years with Boost Mobile, based in Irvine. Boost was among the first of the prepaid crowd to offer a $50/month unlimited plan in January (see, “Boost Mobile adds ‘tax-free’ $50/month unlimited plan“). Virgin added its unlimited plan for one penny less in April.
The union of the two prepaid rivals should be civil. Sprint plans to keep each brand separate and distinct. But Dan Schulman, currently Virgin’s chief executive officer, will lead Sprint’s prepaid business after the deal closes. I’ll be speaking to Matt Carter, Boost Mobile’s president, later this week to see what he thinks about that.
Sprint said it will pay a total equity value of $483 million for Virgin. That includes Sprint’s 13.1 percent ownership interest in Virgin. Sprint plans to retire Virgin’s outstanding debt, which is around $248 million. Public shareholders will receive $5.50 per share.
Sprint will release its second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday. More details are expected.