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Sprint Buys Two Affiliates

IWO and Gulf Coast are acquired for about $715 million.
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Sprint Nextel

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set agreements Tuesday to acquire two companies that sell wireless services in New York and Louisiana for a combined $715 million in cash and debt assumption.

The companies, IWO Holdings and Gulf Coast Wireless, are two of 11 affiliate companies that are licensed to use the Sprint or Nextel names and networks for cell-phone service in smaller markets.

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Sprint will pay $219 million and assume $208 million in debt for IWO, which has 237,000 PCS wireless users in the upstate New York area. It will exchange $287.5 million in cash and assumed debt for Gulf Coast Wireless, which operates in southern Louisiana and Mississippi with about 95,000 subscribers.

Sprint remains locked in a dispute with its largest affiliate, Nextel Partners, about the valuation of a possible takeover. The company has an option to force Sprint to do the buyout, but the transaction has been bogged down by disagreement over the price.