DISH Speeds Up Its Financing

DISH Network is moving very quickly in trying to round up the necessary $9 billion in financing it will need to acquire Sprint Nextel for $25.5 billion.

On Tuesday, it announced that it proposed an offering $2.5 billion in senior secured notes for the purposes of buying Sprint out from under the initial $20.1 billion bid of Japanese telecom SoftBank.

On Thursday morning, the "proposal" became more definite as DISH gave its pricing and raised the offering to $2.6 billion. Two hours later, The Wall Street Journalreported that those bonds had already been sold.

In its fillings, DISH said that the take from the bond sales would be put in escrow pending the completion of its merger bid. If that deal falls through, DISH would buy back the notes.

There are two types of bonds, one that matures in four years and yields 5%, and another that matures in 10 years and yields 6.25%.

Fitch Ratings has rated DISH's latest bond offering at "BB-", a speculative rating. It also has retained all of DISH's ratings at "Negative." Moody's has downgraded DISH to "Ba3" from "Ba2", and says the company's ratings will remain under review for downgrade.

Reuters has reported that DISH has lined up banks to finance the balance of the cash it needs to complete the merger, according to two unnamed sources.

DISH is trying to get its ducks in order as soon as it can. SoftBank has already tried to put pressure on investment banks not to lend to DISH with the threat of withholding from those banks the opportunity to participate in the anticipated IPO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. SoftBank owns one-third of Alibaba.

One can't call developments in DISH's quest for Sprint day-by-day anymore; hour-by-hour would be more accurate.

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