Satellite TV company Dish Network said it will not submit a revised bid for Sprint after the US number-three operator’s board recently recommended a fresh bid from SoftBank.
Sprint said it would accept a revised offer from Dish by 18 June, but Dish said it was “impracticable” to submit another offer after Sprint ended the due diligence process regarding its $25.5 billion merger proposal.
Dish tabled its bid for Sprint in April with a vision to create the only company to offer “a fully-integrated, nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services”. The offer represented a 13 per cent premium on SoftBank’s offer made in October.
However, a revised offer from SoftBank was approved by Sprint’s special committee and board of directors last week. The Japanese operator increased its offer to $21.6 billion for a 78 per cent stake compared to the original $20.5 billion for a 70 per cent stake.
Analysts criticised the new offer, however, as it values Sprint as a whole at $27.75 billion compared with $28.88 billion with the original offer.
Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, said in a statement that the offer is of significant value to Sprint stockholders and provides “the opportunity to realise that value in just a few weeks, without the risks associated with any other potential transaction”.
Despite continuing to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint, Dish said it will now focus on its tender offer for US wholesale operator Clearwire — which Sprint is also attempting to win control of.
Clearwire’s board unanimously recommended Dish’s improved offer for a 49.7 per cent stake, which represents a 29 per cent premium on the Sprint offer. Dish said it is confident its offer will be upheld despite Sprint’s offer having been favoured previously.
Sprint yesterday sued Dish for its attempt to purchase Clearwire, saying Dish repeatedly tried to “fool” Clearwire shareholders into believing its proposal to acquire the spectrum of the US wholesaler was actionable.
A Dish statement in response said the lawsuit was “a transparent attempt to divert attention from its failure to deal fairly with Clearwire’s shareholders, as well as to exploit its majority position to block Clearwire’s shareholders from receiving a fair price for their shares”.