Dish continues sparring with SoftBank over competing Sprint bids

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) continued to hammer back against SoftBank, claiming that its unsolicited $25.5 billion offer for Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is clearly superior to the Japanese operator's $20.1 billion offer for 70 percent of Sprint.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son sparked the jousting a week ago when he said his company will not raise its offer for Sprint because it is already superior to Dish's. Dish took umbrage with that, and since then the two companies have taken public jabs against each other.

Specifically, Son said that when Sprint shareholders consider regulatory delays, breakup fees, transaction costs and synergy effects, SoftBank's offer would end up worth 21 percent more than Dish's. Son calculated the value of his offer at $7.65 per share vs. a $6.31 per share offer from Dish. However, Dish claimed that comparison is an "apples to oranges" one and that SoftBank is overvaluing its synergies with Sprint.

"The math is simple; our offer is higher," an unnamed Dish spokesman told the Financial Times. "At Dish's current share price, our offer is $7.10 a share while SoftBank's offer is $6.38 a share."

Dish said it would also be able to pay down debt faster than SoftBank by using revenue from its satellite TV business. Son has said Dish's deal would "not provide any new cash into the company, and it provides heavy burden of debt." Dish also said Son's claims that a Dish/Sprint deal would be tied up with regulates for a year are also misleading. Sprint and SoftBank expect their deal to be approved by July 1.

In other related deal news, Sprint said it received formal notification under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act that Dish has filed to take control of Sprint, and that as a result, Sprint will need to make filings with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission that include information regarding Sprint's business operations, revenues and shareholdings. A special committee of Sprint's board is continuing to evaluate the Dish offer.

Last week the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved of SoftBank's plan to buy 70 percent of Sprint, paying the way for the June 12 vote on the deal.

Meanwhile, Dish competitor DirecTV said it will not follow Dish into the wireless business. "Wireless, for us, doesn't make sense," DirecTV CEO Mike White told Bloomberg. "We have an amazing product. It's in-home theater."

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has said a combined Dish and Sprint will be able to deliver video and high-speed broadband to consumers both at home and on mobile devices.

For more:
- see this FT article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this release

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