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DISH asks FCC to stall Sprint-Softbank deal in light of its competing offer to acquire Clearwire

News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday January 17, 2013.

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DISH Networks has asked the FCC to halt its consideration of Sprint's application to transfer control of licenses, leases, and authorizations related to SoftBank's planned acquisition of Sprint. Dish contends that doing so is necessary to ensure a fair and sensible sale of Clearwire, which both companies wish to purchase.

After Japanese carrier SoftBank announced its planned purchase of a controlling stake in Sprint last year, Sprint began acquiring additional stock of Clearwire, a company in which it was already the majority shareholder, before eventually offering to purchase the entire company for $2.97 per share. The deal hit a roadblock once Dish delivered a competing bid of $3.30 per share, prompting Clearwire to consider the offer in the interest of maximizing its value.

Dish argues that because Sprint's application to the FCC seeks permission to be acquired by SoftBank and acquire more Clearwire stock, the matter should not be considered until its competing bid for Clearwire is voted on by the company's other shareholders. Dish says that considering Sprint's petition now goes against the FCC's policy of neutrality in takeover contests, so it has asked the Comission to hold the proceeding in abeyance, a process that would temporarily suspend activity related to approval for the Sprint-SoftBank deal until other issues are resolved.

Halting the Sprint-SoftBank deal would give Dish a better chance of acquiring Clearwire and entering the wireless market after years of retaining spectrum and waiting on government approval to use it, which did not arrive until last December. Sprint wants the FCC to approve its deal with SoftBank as soon as possible so it can assume complete control of Clearwire's spectrum and infrastructure to improve its 4G LTE network.

source: FCC (PDF), via: Phonescoop

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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