Sprint given green light for further Dish talks

Sprint given green light for further Dish talks

21 MAY 2013

Sprint said it received a waiver from SoftBank which will enable it to provide confidential information to Dish Network, following the US satellite broadcaster’s bid for Sprint last month.

In a statement, Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish (pictured), said: “We look forward to engaging in full due diligence and continued discussions with Sprint. 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.”

The US number three operator said that despite its continued engagement with Dish, its board has “not changed its recommendation with respect or, and continues to support, the company’s pending transaction with SoftBank”.

However, it also noted that it has the right to terminate the SoftBank deal in order to accept a “superior offer”, with the caveat that it “has not determined that the Dish proposal in fact constitutes a superior offer under the existing merger agreement”.

According to Bloomberg, SoftBank understands the need for Sprint to evaluate both deals, while noting that its own transaction to buy Sprint is scheduled to close in “approximately six weeks”.

To date, Dish has not had access to some detailed financial information, because of question marks over its ability to fund its proposal, and doubts about its projected cost savings.

The report also said that SoftBank has this week announced plans to sell JPY400 billion ($3.9 billion) of bonds, which one analyst said will help “prepare for the worst scenario in which SoftBank has to raise its bid”.

Separately, Bloomberg said that Charlie Ergen has made a $2 billion bid for spectrum owned by troubled US wholesale operator LightSquared which never managed to launch its service.

LightSquared had planned to offer mobile services using frequencies originally allocated for satellite services, which saw it running into regulatory roadblocks related to concern about interference problems.

It is said that Ergan has made a “stalking horse” bid, which is used to set a minimum price for an asset sale in bankruptcy proceedings.

However, this does not guarantee it success should it come up against competition during the auction process.

Dish has also previously made a bid for Clearwire, the US wholesale operator that is majority owned by Sprint, although Sprint is also looking to buy out its minority partners and is unwilling to dispose of its own stake.

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Steve Costello

Steve works across all of Mobile World Live’s channels and played a lead role in the launch and ongoing success of our apps and devices services. He has been a journalist...More

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