SoftBank is upped its offer for Sprint by $4.5 billion in cash, a concession the Japanese operator made under growing pressure from alternate suitor Dish Network. The Sprint board has accepted the new offer, saying its negotiations with Dish have gone nowhere, and announced it would reschedule Wednesday’s looming shareholder vote to June 25.
Dish now has until June 18 to submit its “best and final” proposal. A special committee has been in discussions with Dish since April, but Sprint said Dish has yet to put forward an “actionable offer” and isn’t likely to do so. So the committee is backing SoftBank’s new bid.
SoftBank’s offer isn’t just a straight-up increase on its original bid. Though shareholders would get an additional $1.48 per share over the original $4.02 offer, SoftBank is actually subtracting $3 billion of it from the $4.9 billion direct investment in Sprint it was planning to make.
That will leave Sprint with far fewer funds to continue its LTE network expansion and invest in Clearwire’s new LTE network if it manages to assume control over the company. SoftBank will also take a much higher stake in the new company: 78 percent, rather than 70 percent. Look at this way: SoftBank is giving into Sprint shareholders demands for a bigger high-school allowance, but it’s raiding their college fund to do so.