Dish Network $25B Bid Aims to Grab Sprint From SoftBank's Embrace
NEWS ANALYSIS: Dish, suffering one rejection after another, looks frantically about for a partner and finds only desperation unless it can win Sprint away from SoftBank.In a series of offers that grows more complex and more perplexing with time, Sprint Nextel now finds itself the most sought-after company in the wireless industry. Unfortunately, for Sprint, most of the potential outcomes don't include Sprint as a valued part of the transaction. Even SoftBank, which thought it had a deal to acquire most of Sprint, may find itself on the outs. What's happening? Well, that's where the story starts to get weird. The weird part starts during the second week of April, when a Dish Networks representative had a meeting with Deutsche Telekom officials to ask about buying T-Mobile. DT, which was in the midst of helping T-Mobile USA through its acquisition of MetroPCS via a reverse merger, told Dish that it might want to talk, but not until after the merger with MetroPCS closed. Significantly, DT agreed to hold its majority interest in the surviving company for at least 18 months as part of the deal to keep MetroPCS shareholders happy. So a merger with T-Mobile is unlikely at best.
Once it got this news, Dish focused its $25 billion gaze on Sprint. Unfortunately for Dish, Sprint was well into its deal with SoftBank to be acquired for some $20 billion. Meanwhile, Sprint was even farther along toward acquiring the minority stake in Clearwire that it doesn't already own. The way the deal would work is that Sprint would buy Clearwire, which would clear the way for Softbank to buy Sprint.