Satellite-TV provider Dish Network is making a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel in an effort to derail the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier’s acquisition by Softbank of Japan, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Dish said Monday it is offering Sprint shareholders a total consideration of $25.5 billion, consisting of $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. Sprint shareholders would receive $7.00 per share, based upon DISH’s closing price on Friday, April 12, 2013.
Sprint shares closed at $6.22 on Friday. Dish argues that the deal represents a 13% premium to Softbank’s complicated proposal to buy 70% of Sprint for $20.1 billion.
Control of the combined company would rest with Dish shareholders, and Mr. Ergen would be its largest shareholder.
A Dish spokesman said it’s too early in the process to know a number of specifics including who would lead the company and whether Mr. Ergen will serve as chairman of the board.
Why would Sprint make such an offer? Dish owns 40 MHz of 2.1 GHz frequencies that adjoin Sprint’s PCS band. Sprint’s towers could likely host the Dish Network with little change in infrastructure and Sprint has the voice expertise. But Sprint (or T-Mobile) is unlikely to allow a third party to undercut their own network offering.
Since Clearwire and Sprint own some 120 GHz in the 2.6 GHz band, perhaps Ergen would sell large chunks of that spectrum to AT&T or Verizon, which might net – what – some $5-$8 billion. US ownership of Sprint might more easily pass muster with the DOJ. In addition, Dish can use it’s single channel (6 MHz) frequencies in the 700 MHz band to multicast video.
Sprint, flush with the promise of Softbank’s money, has been making its own deals, notes Bloomberg. The company bought airwaves from U.S. Cellular, giving it more spectrum in the Midwest, and is attempting to buy out the remaining shares in partner Clearwire.
Ergen was already trying to disrupt the Sprint-Clearwire deal, bidding $3.30 a share for Clearwire’s outstanding stock, topping the $2.97 price offered by Sprint.
“What’s really exciting is the future,” Ergen said on a conference call today. “This combined company can take advantage of the future.”
Related Dailywireless articles include; Sprint Buys Spectrum, Subs from US Cellular, Softbank & Sprint Do a Deal, Sprint & Softbank Discuss Merger, Intelligence Committee: Huawei & ZTE Security Threats , Dish Planning Internet-based TV Service?, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone, Japan and S Korea Report Big LTE Growth, SK Telecom Introduces Voice over LTE, T-Mobile: LTE-Advanced Rollout , Japan & Korea: More LTE than USA .