Sprint board approves higher SoftBank bid, says Dish offer not actionable

Sprint board approves revised SoftBank bid, snubs Dish

11 JUN 2013

Sprint’s special committee and board of directors have unanimously approved a revised offer from SoftBank, which sees the Japanese firm upping the cash payable to Sprint shareholders by $4.5 billion.

Cash available to Sprint stockholders has subsequently jumped by $1.48 per share, going from $4.02 to $5.50.

The price at which SoftBank will acquire shares from current Sprint shareholders has increased from $7.30 per share to $7.65 per share, a 52 per cent premium to SoftBank’s original proposal made in October 2012.

The new SoftBank offer now stands at $21.6 billion for a 78 per cent holding in the third-largest mobile operator in the US, compared with its original $20.5 billion bid for a 70 per stake.

“Our transaction offers significant value for Sprint stockholders and the opportunity to realise that value in just a few weeks, without the risks associated with any other potential transaction,” said Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, in a statement.

“SoftBank is trying to assure its purchase,” Tomoaki Kawasaki, a Tokyo-based analyst at Iwai Cosmo Holdings, told Bloomberg. “It already had a better bid. Raising its stake means SoftBank must have confidence it can revive Sprint’s earnings.”

Dish Network, a satellite TV provider, submitted a rival offer for Sprint in April at $25.5 billion for a 68 per cent stake.

While this is higher than SoftBank’s October 2012 bid, Son claimed that once its faster schedule and lower debt are taken into consideration, the original SoftBank offer still represented a 21 per cent premium to Dish’s counter proposal.

Larry Glasscock, chairman of Sprint’s special committee examining the two takeover bids, is not confident the current Dish proposal will likely lead to a “superior offer” compared with the Japanese firm.

“We have expended substantial time and energy engaging with Dish over the past nine weeks, including an extensive due diligence process, but these efforts did not lead, in the special sommittee’s view, to a proposal that was reasonably likely to lead to a proposal superior to SoftBank’s,” said Glasscock.

Sprint shareholders were due to vote on SoftBank’s original proposal tomorrow (12 June), but that meeting has now been postponed until 25 June.

Dish, in a statement, said it would analyse the revised bid and “consider our strategic options”.

Author

Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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