In a sign that the prepaid market is an area where the carriers are seeking expansion in any way possible, Sprint today announced the purchase of Virgin Mobile for $483 million, which includes Sprint's 13.1 percent stake in the company. In addition, the nation's third largest wireless carrier said that it would retire all of Virgin Mobile's outstanding debt, expected to be approximately $205 million in cash and cash equivalents on September 30th, 2009. Virgin Mobile shareholders will receive approximately $5.50 per share.
"These complementary prepaid brands, each with a distinctive offer, style
and appeal to different customer demographics, will continue to serve
existing and prospective customers following the completion of the
Speculation will inevitably run rampant as to the future of the Virgin brand, but the above statement from the press release leads us to believe that Virgin Mobile will remain a separate brand, rather than being folded into Sprint or Boost Mobile's product line. Virgin Mobile influence isn't going away immediately, however - upon completion of the buyout, Virgin Mobile USA CEO Dan Schulman will lead Sprint's prepaid business unit.
Source: Sprint (thanks, Kyle!)