Sprint Nextel ( S) and Japan's SoftBank have received national security clearance from regulators regarding SoftBank's proposed $20.1 billion stake in the cell phone carrier. Sprint and SoftBank said that after clearance from the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, they've entered into a national security agreement with the U.S. government. If the two companies do combine, as part of the agreement the U.S. government will be able to veto any equipment purchases by Sprint from new vendors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The companies said they expect the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to notify the Federal Communications commission that they've completed their national security review. Upon notification, the FCC can finish its review of the deal. Last week, Senator Charles Schumer expressed concern that the deal could expose U.S. government agencies and companies to Chinese cyber attacks. He asked regulators to "use extreme caution" when reviewing the proposal. SoftBank has offered to buy a 70% stake in Sprint for $20.1 billion. Dish Network ( DISH) has launched a competing $25.5 billion offer for Sprint as a whole. Dish claims that the cyber attack issue is another reason why Sprint shareholders should consider its bid.
Apple ( AAPL) filed a $53 million preliminary settlement with customers unhappy with its liquid damage policy. Lawyers on behalf of Apple consumers have alleged that Apple relied on faulty indicators of water damage on iPhones and iPods and wrongly denied customers their warranty claims as a result. They've argued that liquid submersion indicators could be set off by as little as moisture that occurs during ordinary use. If a liquid submersion indicator had been triggered, problems with Apple devices were then not protected under Apple's warranty. Under the preliminary settlement agreement, affected consumers may be eligible for up to $300. Owners of iPhones that were rejected for warranty coverage on the basis of liquid damage before Dec. 31, 2009, and owners of iPod Touches denied before June 2010 are eligible to receive money from the settlement, which is still subject to court approval.
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