Dish asks FCC to defer Sprint-SoftBank review, Sprint reportedly creates committee to review Dish bid

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: April 19, 2013

Dish Network Sprint SoftBank logos

Earlier this month, Dish Network threw a wrench in SoftBank's plan to acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint by making its own, higher offer for the Now Network. Now Dish has begun fighting to try and increase its odds of having Sprint select its deal over SoftBank's.

As noted by Bloomberg, Dish has asked the FCC to defer taking any action on the SoftBank-Sprint deal so that Sprint can have time to decide which offer it prefers. "Because Dish’s merger proposal is currently before the Sprint board of directors, the question of which transaction the commission ultimately should be deciding is unsettled," Dish said in the paperwork that it submitted to the FCC.

Later on in its FCC filing, Dish talked up its offer for Sprint and explained why it believes that its bid is better than the one made by SoftBank. Not only did Dish point out the premium that its bid comes with ($25.5 billion from Dish versus $20.1 billion from SoftBank), but Dish also said that its offer would be better because it's an American company. Dish explained that not only is its bid "better for national security," but that SoftBank also lacks any "existing in-market infrastructure."

SoftBank responded earlier this week, saying that it believes that the agreement it already has in place with Sprint is superior to Dish's bid and that it expects its deal to close in July. The fact that Dish's offer is $5 billion higher than SoftBank's has led some to wonder if SoftBank will sweeten its offer for Sprint, but according to a SoftBank executive speaking to Bloomberg, the Japanese carrier currently has no plans to do so. However, the exec went on to say that SoftBank hasn't yet ruled out any future actions. If Sprint decides to go with an offer other than SoftBank's, Sprint must pay SoftBank a breakup fee of $600 million.

Sprint hasn't officially said much that would tip which offer its leaning toward. So far, the carrier has only issued a short statement acknowledging that it received Dish's offer and that its Board of Directors will look it over. However, Hesse and Co. may be giving Dish's offer some serious consideration. According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Sprint has set up a special committee to evaluate Dish's offer.

It's not clear which offer Sprint will end up selecting, and there's no word on when Sprint might end up making a decision. However, it's clear that the carrier's got quite a decision on it's hands, and it'll be interesting to see whether it sticks with SoftBank or opts to accept Dish's offer. Which bid do you think Sprint will end up choosing?

Via PhoneScoop, BGR, Bloomberg (1), (2), Reuters, The Wall Street Journal