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Dish, Sprint Enter Due Diligence Process

21 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Japanese wireless carrier Softbank grants Dish special waiver to woo Sprint Nextel with what it expects is an inferior acquisition offer

In a surprise move, Japanese wireless carrier Softbank late May 20 issued a special waiver allowing Dish Network to put its best foot forward in an acquisition bid for Sprint Nextel.

Dish is eying Sprint’s 55 million subscribers as potential customers to an enhanced wireless video, Internet and voice platform. Dish in recent years has acquired wireless spectrum — a move some say indicates it wants to roll out a wireless network.

The special waiver permits Sprint and its representatives to furnish non-public information concerning Sprint to Dish, and to engage with the No. 2 satellite TV operator in discussions and negotiations regarding the latter’s $25.5 billion acquisition offer made on April 15.

Softbank has been in negotiations with Sprint since last October over its $20.1 billion offer. Dish recently revealed it plans to sell about $2.5 billion in bonds to help finance the deal.

In a statement, Softbank Holdings president Ron Fisher said the waiver was granted because “we are confident in the value of our transaction.”

Meanwhile, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said the satellite operator would use the opportunity to show Sprint the value of its offer and pending Wi-Fi network.

"We remain confident that this process will confirm the superiority of our proposal, the reasoning behind our synergy projections and our vision for a competitively superior Dish-Sprint," Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said in a statement.

Englewood, Colo.-based Dish, which owns and operates Blockbuster LLC, said it was “pleased” Sprint is taking its offer seriously.

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