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Dish Pulls Back From Sprint Takeover Bid

Englewood, Colo. — Dish Network said it was unable to make a binding revised offer to purchase Sprint by yesterday’s Sprint-imposed deadline, paving the way for a June 25 vote by Sprint shareholders on a competing takeover bid by Japan carrier SoftBank.

Dish nonetheless didn’t completely close the door on bidding for Sprint, saying it “will consider our options with respect to Sprint” but will “focus our efforts and resources on completing the Clearwire tender offer.” Dish said it “continues to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint.”

Dish blamed Sprint for its inability to make a final binding offer by Sprint’s deadline, citing “decisions made by Sprint to prematurely terminate our due diligence process and accept extreme deal protections in its revised agreement with SoftBank.” Those factors, “among other things, have made it impracticable for Dish to submit a revised offer by the June 18 deadline imposed by Sprint,” Dish contended.

SoftBank, which competes in a mature cellular market in Japan, wants to buy 78 percent of Sprint for $21.6 billion to expand its wireless business. Dish wants to buy Sprint to expand its mobile-wireless spectrum holdings and enter the cellular market to diversify from its mature pay-TV business. Dish wants to use its own spectrum and Sprint’s spectrum to offer fixed wireless-broadband and mobile wireless services that it can package with its satellite-TV service.

Meantime, Dish continues to pursue a deal to purchase at least 25 percent, if not all, of wireless carrier Clearwire to help it achieve its goals. Sprint, however, owns slightly more than 50 percent of Clearwire shares and filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block a vote by Clearwire shareholders on the Dish proposal.