Sprint Connection

SoftBank isn’t planning a higher bid for Sprint, executive says

Updated: 2013-04-19T21:53:25Z

Bloomberg News

— SoftBank Corp., which offered $20.1 billion for control of Sprint Nextel Corp., isn’t planning to raise its offer after Dish Network Corp. made a competing bid, an executive at the Japanese company said.

Japan’s third-largest wireless operator will focus on its existing plans for Sprint, the executive said, asking not to be identified, as the discussions are private. Tokyo-based SoftBank hasn’t ruled out future action, the executive said.

Dish this week offered $25.5 billion for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. mobile phone company. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is facing an increasing risk of losing the deal as some Sprint shareholders, including Omega Advisors Inc. and billionaire John Paulson, have said they prefer Dish’s offer.

SoftBank and Sprint in a filing Friday with the Federal Communications Commission asked the agency to reject Dish’s request for a delay in its assessment of the deal and to promptly conclude its review.

Sprint agreed in October to a deal that would give Tokyo-based SoftBank a 70 percent stake. The Japanese company’s proposal has “superior short- and long-term benefits” compared with Dish’s “highly conditional preliminary proposal,” SoftBank said April 16. SoftBank expects to complete the acquisition on July 1 under the terms agreed upon, it said.

The stock has lost 6.8 percent in Tokyo trading since Dish, based in Englewood, Colo., made its unsolicited offer April 15. That has narrowed SoftBank’s gain this year to 39 percent. Takeaki Nukii, a Tokyo-based spokesman for SoftBank, declined to comment.

Dish is offering Sprint’s owners $4.76 in cash and 0.05953 shares of Dish for each Sprint share, a stake that would represent about 32 percent of the combined company.

Dish said the offer is a 13 percent premium to the implied value of SoftBank’s deal, which is also a combination of cash and stock.

SoftBank would need to boost the cash portion of its offer for Sprint by as much as $2 billion to match Dish, Christopher Larsen, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co., said in a report. He has the equivalent of a buy rating for Sprint.

Sprint has to pay SoftBank $600 million if it recommends a rival offer, according to the terms of the deal. The Japanese company in October closed the purchase of $3.1 billion of convertible bonds that can be exchanged for more than 590 million Sprint shares.

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