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Dish Network Offers $25.5 bln for Nextel in Merger Mania

Television
by Jon Friedman
April 15, 2013 5:31 PM
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Dish Network announced on Monday that it intends to acquire Sprint Nextel for $25.5 billion, surpassing a $20 billion merger deal presented by Japan's Softbank.

The key is the appeal of wireless airwaves, or spectrum, that Sprint controls and the coming bonanza of mobile data use in the United States. Dish is upping the ante for Sprint six months after the Japanese wireless carrier made its unexpected attempt to become a significant player in the American market.

Welcome to international merger mania in the media industry.

Dish Network announced on Monday that it intends to acquire Sprint Nextel for $25.5 billion, surpassing a $20 billion offer from Japan's Softbank.

The move underscores the appeal of wireless airwaves that Sprint holds and the coming boom of mobile data popularity in the United States. Dish is raising the value of Sprint six months after the Japanese wireless carrier submitted its surprising bid to enter the U.S. market.


Dish's bid consists of offering Sprint shareholders $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. The Sprint shareholders would get the equivalent of $7 a share, reflecting Dish's Friday closing price in the stock market. That comes to $4.76 a share in cash and 0.05953 Dish shares for each Sprint share, as USA Today pointed out.

According to Dish, its offer "represents a 13% premium to the value of the existing SoftBank proposal."

Wall Street became energized by the proposal. Shares of Sprint Nextel climbed 15.35% to $7.18 in morning stock-market trading. Dish, meanwhile, tumbled 6% to $35.37, published reports noted.

In addition, U.S. regulators are monitoring Softbank's bid to obtan a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel for $20 billion. This represents the biggest deal bid made by a Japanese company.


Dish wants to combine its forces with the third-biggest wireless carrier in the U.S. because it feels that it needs to expand its "offerings beyond the satellite TV business, whose growth prospect is limited as consumers increasingly move to the Internet for entertainment," USA Today pointed out in its coverage.


It will be interesting to follow Dish's progress -- and, as usual, the best indicator will be to watch the machinations of the stock market.

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