SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son Says Dish Network Deal Is “Ridiculous”

Posted Apr 30, 2013

Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, is not happy that Dish Network outbid his company for an acquisition of Sprint.  Son called the idea of Dish merging their satellite TV service with Sprint’s wireless service “ridiculous.”  Son criticized Dish Network’s deal for Sprint during a 90 minute investor presentation meeting in Japan.  During the presentation, he discussed why SoftBank’s offer is superior and believes that they do not need to increase their offer for Sprint.

Dish Network offered $25.5 billion for Sprint, which is the equivalent of $7 per share in the company, which is larger than SoftBank’s deal at $6.22 per share.

However, Dish Network said that the “number is wrong” and it is “incomplete.”  Son said that he calculates the value of his offer is $7.65 vs. the $6.31 offer from Dish when considering other factors.  Son pointed out that the combined company under Dish would have to deal with a lot more debt.  It would also take more than a year to close with Dish’s deal.  SoftBank has a closing target of July 1st for their deal.  Son also said that Dish has non-industry-standard spectrum and a lack of industry relationships.

Son said that “Dish has no friends” due to litigation issues.  The company has many enemies, including service providers and technology companies.  Son also said that Dish has never acquired such a large company and that Dish co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen lacks the experience to lead a wireless company.

Son said that Sprint shareholders would be buying “a headache” with the Dish deal and will get access to incompatible spectrum if they approve the deal.  Unfortunately for SoftBank, shareholders believe Dish would have an easier time receiving regulatory approval to buy Sprint since they are a domestic company.  Son said that he received indications from U.S. officials that if SoftBank acquires Sprint, the process would be smooth.

A deal should be closed by July 1st according to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.