Cellular-phone pioneer Craig McCaw and his family have exercised an option to buy 15 million shares of Nextel Communications Inc. for $232.5 million, Nextel said Tuesday.
The move boosts Craig McCaw’s holdings in the wireless phone service provider, based in McLean, Va., to about 17 percent from about 12 percent, Dow Jones News Service reported.
After putting together a national wireless network based on old taxi and other radio-dispatch frequencies, Nextel rolled out a new digital phone service in 1993. McCaw invested more that $300 million in the company in April 1995 and acquired options that could give him as much as a 26 percent stake by 2001.
He brought in new management and helped arrange for new technology from Motorola, now Nextel’s biggest shareholder.