Sprint Connection

Dish Network is lining up bank financing in bid to purchase Sprint

Updated: 2013-05-16T03:52:06Z

Bloomberg News

Dish Network Corp. is lining up four banks to help finance its $25.5 billion takeover offer for Sprint Nextel Corp., reinforcing its effort to outbid SoftBank Corp.

Dish already is raising $2.5 billion in a bond offering managed by Barclays PLC, Jefferies Group LLC, Macquarie Group Ltd. and Royal Bank of Canada. Now it appears close to tapping those same banks for loans to help reach its goal of $9.3 billion in financing for the Sprint transaction.

Dish talked to Overland Park-based Sprint about the financing Tuesday night and the two sides will continue meeting this week to discuss the offer, which compares with a $20.1 billion bid from SoftBank. Convincing Sprint that it has enough money to get the deal done has been a major hurdle for Dish. Sprint’s board has raised concerns about Dish’s ability to find financing.

Bill White, a spokesman for Sprint, declined to comment on the report on Dish’s financing, as did Dish’s Bob Toevs.

Sprint reportedly hasn’t given Dish access to more detailed financial information, a key step in the merger process. The special committee considering the deal also hasn’t said that the satellite company’s offer is potentially superior to SoftBank’s, a move that would allow for more serious consideration of the bid.

Sprint agreed to a takeover in October by Tokyo-based SoftBank, which has its financing in place and offered to give the U.S. wireless carrier an $8 billion cash infusion as part of the deal. Dish stepped in with its counteroffer last month, aiming to expand into the mobile phone business to offset a decline in satellite television.

In addition to questioning Dish’s ability to finance the deal, Sprint’s directors have doubts about estimates that the merged company would have $11 billion in cost savings, people familiar with the deliberations said this month.

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