Another day, another drama in the saga of Sprint and its suitors, Softbank and Dish Network.
Sprint said late Monday that it would no longer entertain discussions with Dish around its unsolicited US$25.5 billion takeover bid, instead focusing on Softbank, which subsequently sweetened its offer for the wireless operator.
Softbank raised its bid by $1.5 billion to $21.6 billion, including $16.6 billion in cash, up from the original $12.1 billion. The deal would give Softbank a 78 percent stake in Sprint. The upgrade was enough to make Sprint recommend that its shareholders approve the transaction when they meet on June 25.
But while Sprint dismissed Dish's offer as not actionable, it didn't close the door on the possibility of a counter-offer. It gave the satellite TV provider until June 18 to make its "best and final" offer.
Dish responded, stating that it still believes "Sprint has tremendous value. We will analyze the revised Softbank bid as we consider our strategic options."
Reportedly, however, the relationship is hanging by a thread. Bloomberg reports that negotiations between Sprint and Dish fell apart over a number of clashes, most notably Sprint's request for a reverse breakup fee of $3 billion, compared to the $1 billion Dish had suggested.
Sprint's deal with Softbank has the Japanese operator paying only $600 million if its purchase falls through, suggesting strongly that Sprint has far more faith in its original suitor.