SoftBank ups bid for 70% of Sprint to $21.6 billion; stockholder vote moved to June 25th
Sprint also announced Monday night that it has broken off talks with Dish Network. Dish had offered $25.5 billion for all of Sprint and it was support for the Dish bid from major Sprint stockholders that forced SoftBank to raise its bid. The Dish bid is valued at $7 a share. Because SoftBank had many months head start before Dish lobbed in its bid, the deal with the Japanese company can close quickly, especially since it already has approval from U.S. regulators (albeit with special conditions). A deal with Dish Network could still take months to close.
The hedge fund run by John Paulson has made a 180 degree turn. The fund is Sprint's second largest stockholder and owns a 7.7% stake in the carrier. Paulson now says that he will vote in favor of the SoftBank bid after originally saying that he would vote against it. This is the reaction that the Japanese firm was hoping for when it raised its bid. The Sprint stockholders vote has now been moved from Wednesday to June 25th to allow SoftBank more time to promote its new bid. What will Charles Ergen, CEO of Dish Network, do next?
We also have to see what this will mean to the Clearwire/Sprint/Dish Network love triangle. Right now, Dish has a $4.40 bid for the network wholesaler which tops the $3.40 bid made by Sprint.
Stay tuned. This takeover battle might be far from over.