Sprint Bashes DISH's Bid for Clearwire

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q1 2013 or here for the biggest M&A during that time in the service provider-BSS/OSS spaces.**

Sprint has come out swinging this week against DISH's surprising offer for Clearwire that is 30 percent higher than Sprint's bid for the company.

America's third-largest wireless provider on Monday sent a letter to the Clearwire board of directors, calling DISH's proposal "not actionable." Several rights demanded by DISH, Sprint says – including a contractual agreement to designate at least three Clearwire board members and the right to veto certain Clearwire actions – are violations of the EHA (equityholders' agreement) or Delaware law. Likewise, the DISH proposal "calls for Sprint to effectively give up certain of its rights and ignores the requirement that Sprint and other EHA holders must consent to the rights DISH has required as a condition to its tender offer," the letter states.

Clearwire late last week said it plans to review DISH's offer. Up until now, it's been assumed in all of the back-and-forth that the Bellevue, Wash.-based company would choose to sell to Sprint, which already owns half of Clearwire. But DISH, which wants to buy all of Clearwire, including Sprint's portion, has really upped the ante, valuing the company at $6.5 billion – a full dollar more per share than the latest Sprint bid.

DISH wants to begin offering nationwide wireless service, while Sprint wants the rest of Clearwire's spectrum to help further build out its 4G LTE network and offer more high-speed services.

Meantime, DISH also has countered SoftBank's bid to buy 70 percent of Sprint, with its bid to buy all of the Overland Park, Kan.-based wireless carrier. The circle of transactions just keeps getting more complex.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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