Dish chairman says being an American company gives his firm an 'advantage' in fight for Sprint

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| May 2, 2013

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen

There's been a bit of drama brewing lately between Sprint's two suitors, SoftBank and Dish Network, and now it looks like another jab has been thrown by Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen. In an interview with USA Today, Ergen painted his offer for Sprint as being the superior one because his company is based in America. "We are an American company, and the modernization of Sprint's network will have to be done from the U.S.," Ergen said, adding that an operations control of Sprint will be in America and that "you'll have to have U.S. employees who speak English." 

Ergen was careful not to straight-up slam SoftBank or even mention it by name. "It doesn't mean that the other guys are bad. It's just that we have an advantage," the chairman said. An official statement from Dish on Ergen's comments echoed that last tidbit from the interview. "While we hold SoftBank's management capabilities in high regard, we believe there are benefits to managing and operating Dish Sprint domestically," Dish said in a statement to Reuters.

SoftBank and Dish are currently duking it out for the affection of Sprint. SoftBank and Sprint entered into an agreement last year that would see the Japanese carrier pay $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint, but then Dish came out of nowhere last month with its own $25.5 billion bid. Sprint has set up a Special Committee to investigate Dish's offer and is now in talks with Dish to gain more information about it. Meanwhile, SoftBank seems unfazed by Dish's offer, saying that it doesn't plan to sweeten its bid for Sprint and that it expects its deal to close by July.

Both SoftBank and Dish are confident in their bids, with each company boasting that it is the superior suitor for Sprint. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has described Dish's offer as "incomplete and illusory," going on to say that his company brings wireless experience that Dish can't offer. Both SoftBank and Dish's offers have their pros and cons, and it'll be interesting to see which Sprint eventually sides with. Which company do you think would be a better choice for Sprint?

Via Reuters, USA Today