Dish has all but officially thrown in the towel on its $25.5 billion bid for Sprint.
In a statement released late yesterday, the satellite-TV provider said that Sprint’s decision to prematurely terminate Dish’s due diligence process and accept SoftBank’s revised acquisition bid of $21.6 billion has made it “impractical” for Dish to submit a new offer to Sprint. Dish instead said it will focus its efforts and resources on completing the Clearwire tender offer.
Sprint declined to comment on Dish’s decision.
Sprint had given Dish until June 18 to submit a “best and final” offer after the nation’s third-largest carrier opted to go with SoftBank’s deal and call off talks with Dish.
Dish’s decision removes a major roadblock between SoftBank and completing the deal, but Dish could still prove a thorn in SoftBank’s side. Dish’s tender offer of $4.40 per share for Clearwire would give Dish control over a sizeable chunk of the wireless broadband provider if the transaction is finalized. The tender offer would allow Dish to appoint a number of members to Clearwire’s board and provide Dish with veto powers over certain corporate actions. That could make Sprint and SoftBank’s aspirations to tap into Clearwire’s vast spectrum resources more difficult to attain.
Last week, Clearwire’s board fully put its support behind Dish’s tender offer, reversing course from its steadfast support for Sprint’s offer to buy out the company at $3.40 per share. Sprint has responded to the change of heart by filing a lawsuit against Dish and Clearwire, claiming that Dish’s tender offer violates Delaware law and the Equity Holders Agreement designed to protect the rights of Sprint and Clearwire’s other “strategic investors.”
Sprint said Dish’s tender offer cannot be completed without the approval of at least 75 percent of Clearwire’s outstanding voting securities and the approval of Comcast. Sprint said Dish has neither so proceeding with the transaction would be illegal.