It’s been about six months since Japanese Wireless company SoftBank said it’d pay a handsome price to buy control of Sprint. And in yet another example of how a much-buzzed about hookup sometimes fails to get to the completion stage, there’s another company suddenly in the running to woo Sprint — the pay-TV giant, Dish Network.
Dish is making its intentions clear this morning by telling the world that it’s submitted a $25.5 billion bid to buy up Sprint Nextel. In October, SoftBank had said it’d pay near $20 billion for a 70% stake in Sprint, so this could put a big old kink in those plans.
According to the New York Times Dealbook blog, Dish is throwing in cash and stock in the deal, making it worth about 13% more than SoftBank’s offer. And it’s making no bones about its superior courtship skills.
“The Dish proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal,” said Charles W. Ergen, Dish Network’s chairman. He added that a “Dish/Sprint merger will create the only company that can offer customers a convenient, fully integrated, nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services.”
If Dish and Sprint get together, the new company would be right there on the playing field with other broadband + TV + phone service operations like Verizon. Sprint is the No. 3 cellphone carrier in the nation, and faces a possible slide in the numbers once T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS get hitched.
This deal could make Sprint a very active player in the ongoing competition to have the fastest, widest spread network catering to the most wireless customers. It’ll be interesting to see if SoftBank responds by throwing any additional tidbits out there to woo Sprint back into its arms.
Dish Network Makes $25.5 Billion Bid for Sprint Nextel [New York Times]