Didn’t see this one coming… Apparently Branson’s Helio-hawking MVNO Virgin Mobile is about to be gobbled up by the nation’s number three. Sprint has officially announced its intentions to acquire the popular prepaid peddler and according to the release, it’s a done deal. Sprint will cough up $483 million in total for the acquisition, though its current 13.1 percent stake in the company factors into that figure. The carrier will also cover VM’s $250 million in debt at closing. We’re not yet sure how the VM brand will be positioned in Sprint’s arsenal — perhaps it will remain a separate brand or maybe it will be folded into Boost Mobile — but the bottom line is Sprint sees plenty of potential in the prepaid market. You know what they say… There’s no money like up front money.