Japan's SoftBank increased its bid for Sprint Nextel by 7.5 percent to $21.6 billion in an effort to counter Dish Network's competing $25.5 billion bid for Sprint. However, in a blow to Dish's prospects to seal the deal, Sprint said it has ended talks with Dish and that the special committee of its board that is evaluating Dish's proposal found that it "is not reasonably likely to lead to a 'superior offer'" as defined in Sprint's agreement with SoftBank.
Japan's SoftBank is in talks with Deutsche Telekom over a potential deal for T-Mobile US if its $20.1 billion offer to take control of 70 percent of Sprint Nextel collapses, according to a Reuters report.
Sprint Nextel is still planning to hold a shareholder meeting June 12 to vote on SoftBank's $20.1 billion proposal to buy 70 percent of Sprint, according to a spokesman, pushing back against a report that the company is considering delaying the vote as its board considers Dish Network's $25.5 billion counterbid.
SoftBank's $20.1 billion bid to gain control of 70 percent of Sprint Nextel won approval from a key shareholder advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, but did not get the backing from another firm, Egan-Jones Ratings Co., which reversed its position and now opposes the offer in light of Dish Network's $25.5 billion counterbid.
Clearwire postponed a shareholder vote set for today on Sprint Nextel's $3.40 per share offer to take control of the company in the wake of Dish Network's revised $4.40 per share counterbid. Dish's offer, a 29 percent premium on Sprint's bid, shakes up yet again a complex and shifting series of maneuvers among various wireless players, and could complicate SoftBank's bid to acquire control of Sprint, according to analysts.
Japanese operator SoftBank's proposed $20.1 billion purchase of 70 percent of Sprint Nextel has cleared a major hurdle: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency body headed by the Treasury and charged with overseeing deals in which a foreign entity gains control of a U.S. company, said "there are no unresolved national security issues" in SoftBank buying 70 percent of Sprint.
Dish Network struck a strategic deal with regional operator nTelos Wireless to co-develop a fixed-mobile broadband service within nTelos' coverage territory. The agreement represents just the latest prong in Dish's wide-ranging wireless ambitions.
If Japan's SoftBank wins control of Sprint Nextel, it has pledged to remove network gear from Huawei that Clearwire uses in its network, a step that, according to a Wall Street Journal article, could cost up to $1 billion. The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said the U.S. government wants Sprint to remove Chinese gear from Clearwire's network.
Sprint Nextel boosted its offer price to acquire the approximately 50 percent of Clearwire it does not already own from $2.97 per share to $3.40, caving to the demands of minority Clearwire shareholders and blocking Dish Network's unsolicited $3.30 per share offer for Clearwire.
Dish Network's Charlie Ergen made a $2 billion bid for bankrupt wireless provider LightSquared, according to multiple reports, a move that could pit Ergen against fellow billionaire and LightSquared financier Philip Falcone.