Clearwire board backs Sprint raise
Softbank finally appears likely to get everything it had bargained for when it first offered to acquire US wireless operator Sprint Nextel, albeit at a higher price than planned.
Last week, US satellite TV operator Dish network revealed it won't top Softbank's revised $21.6 billion bid for control Sprint. Days later, Sprint raised its own takeover offer for wireless broadband affiliate Clearwire, and the Clearwire board has endorsed the bid.
Sprint is now offering $5 per share for the nearly 50% of Clearwire it does not yet own.
This is an improvement on the $4.40 per share bid by Dish network in an unsolicited offer that had been favored by the Clearwire board. Sprint had initially offered $3.40 per share.
When Dish pulled out of the running to acquire Sprint, it revealed plans to focus its attention on its Clearwire bid. But now that the Sprint offer has the backing of the Clearwire board, it could complicate matters for Dish.
Dish had been offering $25.5 billion for 100% of Sprint, topping Softbank's $20.1 billion offer for 70% of the company.
Sprint acquiring full control of Clearwire was a key component of the original Softbank-Sprint merger plan, before Dish threw a spanner in the works. Barring another counteroffer from Dish, this plan seems to be back on track.