Sprint, we didn’t know you were such a player on the dating scene. While the company is asking for the Federal Communications Commission to keep working on its official review of a $20.1 billion SoftBank deal, it’s also openly flirting with its other suitor, Dish Network. That’s what we call playing the field, folks. Wonder if it’ll go on two dates in the same night?
Much like any eligible bachelor or bachelorette, it seems Sprint is having fun with so many options on the table. Today the company’s board announced it’s formed a special committee of independent directors to “carefully evaluate” Dish’s $25.5 billion offer to buy the company, reports GigaOm.
That can’t be sitting well with SoftBank, which wants to be going steady with Sprint and eventually, head down the aisle. But Sprint is still keeping SoftBank on the hook: Last week it asked the FCC to stay on target in its proceedings to approve the SoftBank deal by the end of the year, after the Department of Justice asked the agency to delay while it looks into foreign ownership issues.
Dish wanted Sprint to stop dating SoftBank after it put a deal on the table last week, but Sprint is all, “I’m just having fun being single.” Sprint is also not willing to give up its relationship with SoftBank, accusing Dish in its FCC filing last week of trying to mess up what it has going with SoftBank. This is getting more complicated than an episode of Sex and the City, am I right?
Sprint says in its letter to the FCC:
“DISH wrongly suggests that it would be prudent for the Commission to derail this review while it waits until an alleged uncertainty – uncertainty that DISH itself is attempting to create by its unsolicited proposal – is resolved. DISH has this exactly backwards. The Commission has been working diligently on the pending applications, which now stand at day 140 of the Commission’s shot clock. The Commission must not be distracted by DISH’s latest maneuverings, just as it was not distracted by DISH’s original request, and, based on long-established precedent, continue the orderly processing of the applications to conclusion.”
In other words, no one can make Sprint choose just yet. It’s gotta make that decision on its own. On the one hand, Dish’s deal could lead to the advantage of an expanded network with the combined power of both companies’ spectrum. But on the other, if SoftBank ponies up more cash, Sprint could just buy whatever advantages it needs.