Sprint gets approval from SoftBank to hold negotiations with DishAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Nearly a month after Sprint was given the A-OK from SoftBank to speak to Dish and gain more details about its $25.5 billion offer for the Now Network, it appears that the discussions are going to escalate a bit. Sprint tonight announced that it's received a waiver from SoftBank to discuss "non-public information" with Dish and to hold negotiations regarding Dish's bid for Sprint, two things that Sprint was not allowed to do during its previous talks with Dish.
Sprint also reminds us in its announcement that, as part of the terms of its deal with SoftBank, it can end its agreement with the Japanese carrier in order to pursue a better offer. Sprint is quick to point out that it hasn't yet determined if Dish's offer is superior to SoftBank's, though. The No. 3 carrier also says that its board of directors still supports its existing deal with SoftBank.
Sprint originally entered into an agreement with SoftBank late in 2012 that, if completed, will see the Japanese carrier dropping $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint. Dish then surprised most everyone with its own $25.5 billion offer for Sprint in April 2013, and since then Sprint has been contemplating the bids while SoftBank and Dish exchange comments about whose offer is superior.
Exactly how this whole situation will play out is still a mystery, but SoftBank's bid for Sprint did recently get approval from the SEC, and Sprint's shareholders are now scheduled to vote on the offer on June 12. SoftBank also expects the deal to close on July 1. Meanwhile, Dish is still fighting for its offer, and the company has even put in a $2 billion offer for LightSquared's wireless spectrum that could increase the odds of its bid being selected. If you were Sprint, which offer would you choose?