Dish Throws in the Towel on Sprint Buy

Dish Network has decided not to sweeten its bid to acquire Sprint Nextel Corp., focusing its efforts on closing its deal to buy up Clearwire LLC instead. Sprint said last week that it would focus on SoftBank Corp.'s acquisition offer, giving Dish until Tuesday to come up with its best and final offer. Dish said late Tuesday that the week turnaround time wasn't adequate, so it's stepping back. The satellite operator wrote in a statement:
    "While DISH continues to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint, the decisions made by Sprint to prematurely terminate our due diligence process and accept extreme deal protections in its revised agreement with SoftBank, among other things, have made it impracticable for DISH to submit a revised offer by the June 18th deadline imposed by Sprint."
The decision is a win for SoftBank, which recently upped its purchase offer to US$21.6 billion, still coming in below Dish's unsolicited bid of $25.5 billion. It's also indicative of a souring relationship between Dish and Sprint. Monday, Sprint said it has sued Dish in state court in Delaware over its bid to acquire Clearwire, which it says violates investor rights since it is the majority owner. Both sagas are still unfolding. Sprint shareholders will vote on SoftBank's proposal on June 25. (See Sprint Dishes Out a Lawsuit Over Clearwire.) — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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