Tensions have risen even further in the four-way stand off between Sprint, Clearwire, Dish Network and SoftBank. On the eve of a shareholder vote determining whether Sprint will take over Clearwire, Dish has upped its bid for the WiMAX operator by 29 percent.
Dish is now offering $4.40 a share for Clearwire, representing $1.10 more than its initial proposal and a huge premium over Sprint’s most recent offer of $3.40 a share. Dish’s deal values Clearwire at $6.3 billion, but unlike Sprint, Dish wouldn’t necessarily take complete control over the company. Dish said it is willing to settle for a minority stake as long as it can get 25 percent of the company.
Sprint was already on shaky ground going into Friday’s vote as many of Clearwire’s institutional investors have been agitating for better terms. Dish’s new offer definitely complicates Sprint’s takeover plans even further. Dish said it would formally submit its offer to Clearwire shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting, forcing a standoff between it and Sprint.
“The Special Committee of Clearwire’s board of directors has received Dish Network’s offer and will review it to determine the best course of action for the company and its stockholders,” read a statement issued by Clearwire late Wednesday. “The Special Committee has not made any determination to change its recommendation of the current Sprint transaction.”
Dish and Sprint aren’t just battling over Clearwire. Dish is trying to take over Sprint as well, challenging SoftBank’s $20.1 billion buyout of the U.S. carrier. Sprint and Softbank are gradually getting the necessary regulatory approvals to finalize their deal, but Sprint is formally weighing Dish’s offer. When Sprint holds its own shareholder vote next month to approve the deal, Dish could create similar controversy.