US satellite TV giant DISH Network has announced that it has lodged a USD25.5 billion bid for control of Sprint Nextel, effectively outbidding Japanese firm’s Softbank’s existing USD20.1 billion deal for the US carrier. DISH’s merger proposal for Sprint comprises USD17.3 billion in cash and USD8.2 billion in DISH stock. Under the terms of the deal, Sprint shareholders will receive USD7.00 per share based upon DISH’s closing price on Friday 12 April 2013; this consists of USD4.76 per share in cash versus USD4.03 per share in the Softbank proposal, and encompasses approximately 32% ownership in the combined DISH/Sprint versus Softbank’s proposal of a 30% interest in Sprint alone. DISH notes that its proposal represents a 13% premium to the value of the existing Softbank offer. DISH owner Charlie Ergen told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Sprint is in play. We think we’ve made an offer that’s much more compelling than the Softbank transaction’.
For its part, Sprint responded to the takeover offer with the following statement: ‘Sprint Nextel today confirmed it has received an unsolicited proposal from DISH Network to acquire the company. The company said that its board of directors will evaluate this proposal carefully and consistent with its fiduciary and legal duties. The company does not plan to comment further until the appropriate time’.