Apr, 15 2013

While Sprint agreed to be swallowed up by Japanese wireless firm Softbank for just over $20 billion, that blockbuster deal is still threatened by other outside forces who want to take a crack at bat. Since the deal has yet to be voted on by either side Sprint can still listen to offers in earnest. DISH was the company that decided to up the ante and make this fight interesting as the company has put in a new $25.5 billion bid to acquire the Now Network. The deal — worth 13% more than what Softbank is offering — would give Sprint shareholders an attractive 32% stake in the combined company and would increase share value to $7 per share.

Industry analysts say this deal works out better for Sprint in almost every way on the financial side of things, but there’s still reason to believe Sprint could be hesitant to accept. Although DISH’s motives for wanting Sprint stem from wanting an established consumer base and its growing need for wireless spectrum, Sprint is reportedly more interested in doing business with a company that has strong roots in wireless rather than getting in bed with a company who shares the same US soil. Flipping it over, Softbank’s motives are simple — it just wants to have a presence here in the ultra competitive and high potential market that the United States provides.

DISH’s main argument for Sprint is that it could provide the carrier with even more backbone to support the company’s all-you-can-eat unlimited data caveat that other carriers are beginning to abandon, and the company could offer a more robust set of services such as a package of phone, internet and TV like AT&T and Verizon currently do. It’s that type of partnership that could launch Sprint into the upper echelons of mobile in the US where AT&T and Verizon currently dominate (both in customers and in coverage)

Sprint and Softbank didn’t have a comment for the bid just yet, but the former has to be mulling it over quite seriously as this isn’t just softball being played. DISH has greatly exceeded an offer that was already too attractive for Sprint to resist, and we wouldn’t blame the carrier for breaking the long-standing, unwritten “no takesie backsies” rule companies tend to follow after proposing a merger of this magnitude.

[via New York Times]

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