SoftBank Corp. (TYO:9984) will pay $21.6 billion for a 78 percent stake in Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), giving the Japanese telecommunications and Internet services provider control of the third-largest U.S. telecom.

Sprint shareholders agreed to what company CEO Dan Hesse called a “transformative merger agreement” in a statement issued late Tuesday.

SoftBank had increased its offer for the Overland Park, Kan., company after U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq:DISH) floated its own offer of $25.5 billion.

While the offering price was higher than SoftBank’s, the Dish deal would have increased Sprint’s debt portfolio. Sprint gave Dish until June 18 to sweeten the deal after receiving a higher bid from SoftBank.

Last week, Dish backed out of the negotiations. Sprint shareholders have the option of accepting $7.65 per share -- which is higher than the Wednesday morning premarket trading price of about $6.94 -- or they can swap out their former Sprint shares for new ones.