It seems the ongoing struggle for Softbank to acquire Sprint may be near an end. Dish Network has bowed out, after their offer was rejected by the Sprint board. Softbank improved its offer for Sprint marginally, laying the groundwork for another multinational carrier. That improved offer injected more cash to shareholders, which solidified support.
Softbank had been exploring other option for a foray into the U.S. market, should the Sprint deal not have worked out. They were notably interested in T-Mobile recently, when the Sprint fracas looked its worse. That, of course, was not necessary, and Softbank is now confident their deal with Sprint will close at or near the original July timeframe.
At a shareholders meeting, Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, cautioned that Dish could still counter with a better offer before the Sprint shareholders meeting on June 25. At that, he quipped “We don’t know what could happen before the meeting, but we took a big step forward after Dish missed the deadline to make a new proposal.”
As for Clearwire, Sprint recently improved their offer, making it much more attractive to shareholders. Dish was willing to pay the “going rate” for Clearwire shares, giving it the remaining half or so Sprint didn’t already own. The Softbank acquisition hinged on Sprint owning Clearwire outright, which prompted Sprint to offer $5/share, a $0.60 premium over Dish. That move is said to have appeased a group of Clearwire shareholders not impressed with Sprint’s original plan.
For Sprint and Softbank, the good news abounds. Softbank stock is up in anticipation of the deal, and Sprint will gain much needed capital and support to update their network.