Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

(Reuters) – Sprint Nextel Corp said it will buy Virgin Mobile USA in a deal that values the equity of the small wireless carrier at $483 million, including Sprint’s current 13.1 percent stake.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service, also agreed to retire all of Virgin Mobile USA’s outstanding debt when the deal closes, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2009 or in early 2010. It said it expects Virgin Mobile’s debt to be no more than $205 million net of cash and cash equivalents by September 30.

Virgin Mobile’s public shareholders will receive Sprint shares equivalent to $5.50 per Virgin Mobile share, subject to a collar of 1.0630 to 1.3668 Sprint shares per Virgin Mobile share. The price is a 31 percent premium over Virgin Mobile’s closing price of $4.21 on Monday.

Virgin Mobile shares jumped to $5.20 in premarket trading on Tuesday. Sprint shares rose to $4.60 from their close at $4.55.

(Reporting by Tiffany Wu; editing by John Wallace)