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Just a few months after Dish Network attempted to acquire Clearwire by one-upping Sprint's bid for the company, it looks like Dish is trying to make a similar move again today, but with a much larger firm. Dish announced this morning that it has offered to buy Sprint for a total of $25.5 billion, a bid that includes $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. Sprint revealed last year that it had entered into an agreement with SoftBank that would see the Japanese carrier acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint for $20.1 billion.

In its announcement of the proposal, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said that his company's offer for Sprint is "a superior alternative" to SoftBank's bid, giving Sprint shareholders more cash and a greater ownership in the combined entity. With Dish's proposal, Sprint stockholders would receive around $7.00 per share that consists of $4.76 in cash and 0.05953 Dish shares, as well as approximately a 32 percent ownership in the combined Dish-Sprint. SoftBank's offer for Sprint included $4.03 per share and a 30 percent interest in Sprint alone.

Dish has also set up a dedicated website to promote its bid for Sprint. On it, the company claims that its proposal could result in growth opportunities that are estimated at $37 billion, including $11 billion in cost savings. Dish also says the combine firms could offer "an improved value proposition with bundling and expanded product offerings," including greater network efficiency and access to mobile video channels using the 700MHz band.

Dish has been interested in breaking into the wireless business for some time now, and last year the company was recently given FCC approval to use some of the spectrum that it already owns to build out a wireless network. Since then, Dish has been trying to acquire Clearwire to aid in its efforts, but that move hasn't been working out so well. Now it looks like Dish is going after bigger fish. The company will be holding a conference call at 8 a.m. ET this morning to discuss what it feels are the benefits of its offer and to answer questions from both the media and investors. We'll listen in and report back with any juicy tidbits that come out of it.

UPDATE: Sprint has issued a short statement acknowledging that it received Dish's merger offer and that its Board of Directors will look the bid over.

Via Dish Network, Complete Dish Solution, Sprint


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