NEXTEL DEAL Sprint offers big bonuses for executives

A spokeswoman said the deal could encompass around 800 employees.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- Sprint Corp. said Friday it will offer large bonuses to company executives who agree to stay with the company through its merger later this year with Nextel Communications Inc.
Sprint, the nation's third-largest wireless carrier, and Nextel, the fifth-largest, announced last month that they plan to combine by the end of 2005, creating an adversary to wireless leaders Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless with 38.5 million subscribers.
Spin off phone service
As part of the combination, Sprint would spin off its local phone service division to a separate company.
The program adopted earlier this month by Sprint's compensation committee would give executive officers who remain with the company through the merger and the spin-off, and for a year afterward, a bonus equal to their base annual salary and short-term incentives.
Gary Forsee, Sprint's chief executive and chairman, and Len Lauer, president and chief operating officer, would not be eligible for the bonuses.
Company spokeswoman Jennifer Bosshardt said the deal could encompass around 800 employees. She said the company is not saying how much the policy could potentially cost Sprint.
Nextel spokeswoman Audrey Schaefer said the Reston, Va.-based company put in place similar change-of-control payments in 1999. Those award the top executives 150 percent of their salary as a bonus if they remain with the company through a merger.

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