Dish Chairman Responds To Criticisms From SoftBank Regarding Sprint Deal

Posted May 2, 2013

Oh no, he didn’t!  Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen responded to SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son criticism of their potential deal with Sprint in an interview with USA Today.  Ergen emphasized that Dish is offering a higher price and they are an American company.

Late last month, Son said that Dish Network’s offer for Sprint was “ridiculous” and added that “Dish has no friends” due to all of their litigation.

“We’re offering a higher price. That’s just math,” said Ergen in the USA Today interview. “We are an American company, and the modernization of Sprint’s network will have to be done from the U.S. You have to climb the towers here, and you’ll have to have U.S. employees who speak English. Operations command control will be in America. That’s good for jobs.”

As a quick refresher, Dish offered to buy Sprint last month for $25.5 billion.  This deal is based on around $7 per share, which is higher than SoftBank’s $6.22 per share offer.  Sprint received a waiver last month to explore talks with Dish Network to make sure that the offer is worth considering.  SoftBank made an agreement to buy Sprint back in October 2012, but that transaction hit the skids due to Dish Network’s offer.

Dish Network sent a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that claims a SoftBank acquisition of Sprint would not be good for national security.  Dish said that SoftBank does not have the “existing in-market infrastructure” and that their deal would be better for Sprint’s shareholders.

SoftBank’s deal included paying Sprint shareholders $12.1 billion.  They would pay Sprint $8 billion in cash for network upgrades and other improvements for 70% of the company.  Dish’s counteroffer was $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock.  Sprint increased their value when they agreed to buy the shares of Clearwire for $2.2 billion.  Sprint’s acquisition of Clearwire would include wireless spectrum that is related to their ramp-up of their 4G LTE network.