DISH Bowing Out to SoftBank on Sprint Deal


DISH Network will not raise its bid to buy Sprint Nextel after SoftBank's most recent counteroffer to the satellite TV provider's proposal, DISH announced late yesterday.

Instead, DISH said it would concentrate on acquiring Clearwire, the network provider that Sprint is also bidding on. DISH said in a statement:

While DISH continues to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint, the decisions made by Sprint to prematurely terminate our due diligence process and accept extreme deal protections in its revised agreement with SoftBank, among other things, have made it impracticable for DISH to submit a revised offer by the June 18th deadline imposed by Sprint. We will consider our options with respect to Sprint, and focus our efforts and resources on completing the Clearwire tender offer.

Japanese telecom SoftBank's original agreement with Sprint called for $20.1 billion to acquire 70% of the No. 3 U.S. carrier. DISH's counteroffer of $25.5 billion for Sprint seemed to be enough to sway shareholders to vote down the SoftBank deal. However, SoftBank's new agreement with Sprint calls for an additional $4.5 billion in cash for Sprint stockholders, and that has effectively undercut DISH's efforts.

The new agreement also would increase SoftBank's share of Sprint to 78% with Sprint owning the other 22%.

Softbank in Tokyo welcomed Dish Network's decision:"We look forward to the receipt of FCC and shareholders' approvals, which will allow us to close the deal in early July, and begin the hard work of building the new Sprint into a meaningful third competitor in the U.S. market," the company said in a statement.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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