Dish Network asks FCC to delay Sprint-Softbank merger due to competition for Clearwire

Dish Network asks FCC to delay Sprint-Softbank merger due to competition for Clearwire
The FCC has been asked by DISH Network to put its consideration process on hold with regard to the pending acquisition of a majority state of Sprint by Japan-based SoftBank.

DISH contends that the hold is necessary since it is competing with Sprint to acquire Clearwire, of which Sprint has long held a majority stake. Shortly after the announcement to be acquired by SoftBank, Sprint was infused with cash from a convertible bond redeemable to SoftBank. Sprint used that money to regain a majority share in Clearwire and a short while later, Sprint announced its intent to buy the remainder of the struggling operation to the tune of $2.97 per share.

That deal was likely as good as done despite whatever protests from minority shareholders until DISH then tendered a competing bid which equaled $3.30 per share. Now, DISH has filed with the FCC arguing that the Sprint-SoftBank deal should be put on hold while the Clearwire deal is also under consideration.

If the SoftBank acquisition is paused, it may give DISH the upper hand in acquiring Clearwire. If DISH were to succeed in taking Clearwire just as it is within Sprint’s grasp, it would give the satellite TV provider a jump-start for entering the wireless market while it builds out a new network with spectrum it was just given the green light to use.

If the Sprint acquisition of Clearwire were to unravel, it would be interesting to see what impact it might have on SoftBank’s plans, since it is well known that Clearwire’s spectrum was a desired component of SoftBank’s strategy.

sources: FCC (PDF) via Phonescoop

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