Investors were giving an early nod to Spint's ( FON) FON division in its plan to issue about 500 million shares to acquire the outstanding Sprint PCS ( PCS) tracking shares.

FON shares were recently fetching $18.15 on the Instinet premarket, up from their Friday close of $17.73, while PCS shares were trading at $8.85, down from $9 Friday.

Sprint FON will issue half a share for each of the roughly 1 billion PCS share outstanding and pay a 12.5-cent dividend to all its outstanding shares at a record date in June 2004. That's currently worth roughly $9.14 a PCS share.

Sprint divided its operations six years ago to help promote the wireless unit. The recombination, it said, will simplify its marketing strategy; align its capital structure to "increased convergence of wireless and wireline offerings;" and help investors understand its accounting.

The move also comes at a time of possibly increased buyout activity in the wireless sector, following Cingular's acquisition this month of AT&T Wireless ( AWE).

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