Although Japanese carrier SoftBank has been courting Sprint for the past several months, it’s apparently willing to let the carrier see other companies. Sprint announced on Monday that it had received “a waiver of various provisions of the merger agreement” with SoftBank so that it can enter into a non-disclosure agreement and discussions with Dish to learn more about its competing merger proposal. Sprint may not enter into negotiations with Dish under the waiver, nor is it allowed to give Dish any non-public information. Instead, the point of the talks is to decide whether Dish’s offer represents a better deal for the company that would give it ample reason to break off its merger with SoftBank.
Sprint’s board of directors has set up a special committee to evaluate Dish Network’s proposed $25.5 billion acquisition, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The company is also said to be looking to hire an investment bank to help it assess the offer. Dish’s bid is a counter offer to Japanese carrier Softbank’s planned merger with the wireless company. Sprint’s decision to establish a special committee shows that it is at least considering Dish’s offer. Both deals involve cash-and-stock options, and while Sprint’s board had initially backed Softbank’s proposal, two significant Sprint shareholders recently voiced their support for Dish’s bid, further complicating the planned merger with Softbank.
Dish will obviously have a hard time buying Sprint if SoftBank is allowed to buy it first, which is why the company is asking the Federal Communications Commission to delay any action on the proposed Sprint-SoftBank merger until Dish’s own proposal gets a fair shake. Bloomberg reports that Dish is describing its $25.5 billion bid for Sprint as “an important new development” that Sprint executives need time to consider before the FCC moves to sign off on a deal with SoftBank. In particular, Dish argues that because its “merger proposal is currently before the Sprint board of directors, the question of which transaction the commission ultimately should be deciding is unsettled.” Dish’s announcement earlier this week that it was interested in buying Sprint marked the first time that the satellite television provider had signalled a clear intent to move into the mobile voice and data market.
SoftBank doesn’t appear to be worried about Dish Network’s recent bid for Sprint. The Japanese carrier said in a statement to AllThingsD that it believes its proposed merger offers a superior option to Sprint shareholders with both “short and long-term benefits to Dish’s highly conditional preliminary proposal.” Dish on Monday challenged SoftBank’s merger proposition with a bid of its own worth $25.5 billion. The proposed deal values the carrier at $7.00 per share, considerably higher than SoftBank’s offer of $4.03 per share. Despite the higher bid, SoftBank remains confident and said that it expects the transaction to be completed by July 1st.
Pay-TV operator Dish has made a dramatic bid for Sprint in an effort to elbow SoftBank aside. The company’s $25.5 billion bid is 13% above the offer SoftBank had made previously. What makes the situation so fascinating is the strong growth of mobile video consumption over the past year. In a recent interview with AdGent, the advertising platform company pointed out that browser-based video viewing is now the No.1 activity on tablets, growing faster than app usage. In a separate interview, David Steinberg from XL Marketing remarked that mobile video ads now have roughly three times higher CPM than app ads. More →
Dish Network has been looking to make serious inroads in the mobile market and it looks like the company has identified an appealing new option. Dish on Monday announced that it is challenging SoftBank’s plans for a Sprint merger with a bid of its own — $25.5 billion in total, which consists of $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. The proposed Dish deal would give Sprint shareholders $7.00 per share, which represents a healthy premium over SoftBank’s offer of $4.03 per share. Sprint shares were up more than 12.5% in Monday’s pre-market session on the news. Dish’s full press release follows below. More →
Dish’s (DISH) commercial-skipper DVR dubbed “Hopper” has taken a lot of heat from major networks, several of which sued the company last May. Fox Broadcasting Company was counted among the networks that sued, and it argued that by automatically skipping the commercials aired during primetime shows recorded on the Hopper’s DVR, Dish is “destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.” Now, Fox is back and it’s asking the district court in Los Angeles to block Hopper sales again, this time due to the box’s in-built “on the go” feature that allows users to stream content over the Web from their home TV. More →
Philip Falcone’s startup LightSquared planned to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States. The firm’s service was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, however, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to block the network’s launch. Dish Network is looking to build a similar network and is currently awaiting government approval. Executives and analysts have said that Dish will probably avoid the interference concerns that killed LightSquared’s network, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The satellite company’s frequencies, which are above 2GHz, are far away from those used by GPS devices and Lightsquared’s 1600Mhz band, and are less likely to interfere. “It’s not as close to GPS, so it’s unlikely to interfere,” said Matthew Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, which operates more than 60 satellites. “But the approval is going to take some time. The FCC is going to make sure they don’t have another LightSquared problem on their hands.” Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners, believes that Dish will gain FCC approval in 6 to 12 months. More →
AT&T is in such need of spectrum following the collapse of its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA, that one analyst thinks the carrier may soon seek to acquire Dish Network. “Dish and AT&T aren’t direct competitors, and at the end of the day, the government wants to see spectrum used,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher King told Bloomberg Tuesday. “It’s highly unlikely regulators would block two AT&T deals in row,” he added, noting that AT&T is “desperate for spectrum.” AT&T wasn’t the only company eyeing a deal with T-Mobile USA, however; Dish Network chief executive officer Joseph Clayton recently said that his company was interested in working with T-Mobile USA to create a national wireless network of its own. Read on for more. More →
Dish Network on Friday announced the upcoming availability of Blockbuster Movie Pass, an unlimited video streaming service akin to Netflix’s “Watch Instantly.” Beginning October 1st, Dish subscribers will have unlimited access to a small library of digital content that they can stream to a PC or to a TV using a standard Dish set-top box. While Netflix is moving in a completely different direction, having just spun off its DVD rental service to focus on streaming, Dish is sticking with the multi-pronged approach as Blockbuster’s best bet. “We’ve created a package that combines the best assets of the movie entertainment and video gaming industries with the convenience and integration provided by a multichannel video provider,” said Blockbuster president Michael Kelly in a statement. “Blockbuster Movie Pass is the ultimate programming package for every movie buff. The combination of DVDs by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges provides more than 100 million people living near Blockbuster stores, which are open 7 days a week, immediate satisfaction and unmatched choice.” Dish’s full press release follows below. More →
Former home entertainment heavyweight Blockbuster is preparing to unveil a new streaming media service later today that will aim to take a bite out of Netflix’s future. While the company has made no official announcements at this point, invitations to a 1:00 p.m. Eastern press conference refer to a new service that is a “stream come true.” This is not the first time Blockbuster has chased Netflix in an effort to save its faltering business. The company introduced its “Total Access” service years ago — a spitting image of the DVD rentals-by-mail service that made Netflix the giant it is today — but the lack of a compelling argument and a string of terrible policy changes takes us to where we are today: Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy and was subsequently bought at auction by Dish Network. The firm’s Total Access service remains operational, though Netflix is doing everything it can to bury its DVD service, and now Blockbuster will take the next step in its attempted comeback.