DISH Network has secured $9 billion in “committed financing” as part of its $25.5 billion bid for Sprint. The company hopes it will help persuade the telecommunication company to rethink selling 70 percent of itself to Japanese corporation SoftBank. The announcement comes quickly following SoftBank and Sprint completing the US state regulatory review process for a potential sale.
— CNBC (@CNBC) May 23, 2013
CNBC reported that DISH has acquired the funds. To bolster its chances, DISH has been running a campaign with a national security fear-mongering theme. The company has a website that argues “the sale of wireless and wireline infrastructure with national strategic importance to a foreign company will weaken the security of the United States.”
DISH has also secured support from US Senator John McCain, who wrote a letter to acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn:
As I am sure the Commission is aware, Sprint holds strategic assets, such as its wireless spectrum and fiber network, and has extensive and ongoing relationships throughout the whole government. With all other relevant facts and circumstances surrounding Softbank’s proposed acquisition of Sprint, I hope the Commission duly considers these facts when reviewing this matter.
To help allay such fears, SoftBank has taken the extra step of giving the US the right to approve or veto a nominee to Sprint’s board of directors. This government-approved director would be responsible for monitoring national-security issues relating to Softbank’s takeover.
While SoftBank’s offer has completed state regulatory reviews, it also faces extensive reviews by the US Department of Justice, the FCC, and the Committee on Foreign Investment.
Last April, DISH entered the Sprint saga with a $25.5 billion bid for the telecom company, reportedly 13 percent higher than SoftBank’s bid. At that time, DISH Chairman Charles Ergen called his company’s bid to be “a superior alternative” to SoftBank’s:
Sprint shareholders will benefit from a higher price with more cash while also creating the opportunity to participate more meaningfully in a combined DISH/Sprint with a significantly-enhanced strategic position and substantial synergies that are not attainable through the pending SoftBank proposal.
Amid all the back and forth and merger games, at the end of April, Sprint received a waiver to begin discussions with DISH from SoftBank — but it didn’t permit a start to negotiations.
At the close of trading today, shares in DISH were at $39.39, up 0.18 percent. Sprint was trading at $7.31, up 0.14 percent, while SoftBank was at 5,320 yen, down 7.16 percent.
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