Satellite TV provider Dish Network is looking to derail Sprint’s deal with SoftBank and acquire the carrier with a $25.5 billion bid. Dish has offered $17.3bn in cash and $8.2bn in stock for 100% of Sprint shares, and the company argues that the deal represents a 13% premium over SoftBanks “complicated” bid to acquire 70% for $20.1 billion.
“We think we’ve made an offer that’s much more compelling than the Softbank transaction,” Dish Chairman Charles Ergen said during an interview in New York. Ergen would become Sprint’s largest shareholder if the deal went ahead, while control of the company would rest with Dish shareholders.
This is said to be Ergen’s “most audacious” attempt to expand out of the pay-television and into the wireless industry, The Wall Street Journal reports. Dish has already acquired spectrum to start a cellphone service, but the company is yet to do anything with it.
However, its acquisition of Sprint would allow Dish to provide high-speed Internet, video, and voice services throughout the U.S. almost instantly. It would also allow customers to access these services both at home and while out and about with just one package, Ergen said.
Dish’s bid to acquire Sprint comes months after the company made an informal offer to buy Clearwire Corp., a carrier half-owned by Sprint. Dish never turned it into a formal offer, but Ergen said that the “deck was stacked against us” in the Clearwire deal due to complicated contractual obligations.
If Sprint did decide to do business with Dish and cut ties with SoftBank, it would have to pay the Japanese carrier a $600 million breakup fee. However, Ergen has said that he is willing to pay this.
- Source The Wall Street Journal