Following the past few weeks of activity between itself and Sprint, Clearwire received some unexpected news today when Dish Network publicly announced its intentions to make a counteroffer for the financially strapped ISP in a new press release. Dish Network has announced a counter offer of $3.30/share, which is slightly higher than the $2.97/share currently being offered by Sprint, with forthcoming majority stakeholder SoftBank prohibiting Sprint for offering anything higher than the aforementioned amount for the company.
Unsurprisingly, upon the news of the Dish Network counter offer for purchase, Sprint issued the following statement:
“Sprint believes its agreement to acquire Clearwire, which offers Clearwire shareholders certain and attractive value, is superior to the highly conditional Dish proposal. The Dish proposal would require Sprint to voluntarily waive rights that it holds as a stockholder of Clearwire and that it possesses through various vendor and customer contracts that significantly predate Sprint’s proposed acquisition of the remainder of Clearwire. Sprint does not intend to waive any of its rights and looks forward to closing the transaction with Clearwire and helping consumers across the country realize the benefits of this combination.”
With Sprint looking to purchase the rest of Clearwire in order to shore up its spectrum position for LTE service, the fact that it felt compelled to release a defensive statement may be seen as a sign that Sprint is looking to fiercely protect its strategy for the Clearwire purchase, since a purchase by Dish Network would upset its new long-term network integration plan. For its part, Dish Network is feverishly looking for partners with either established network infrastructure or sizable spectrum holding so it can roll out its own mobile broadband network based on LTE, as it already holds a good part of the recently ratified AWS-4 spectrum and band.
As Dish Network has dismissed any possibility of working directly with Sprint with its latest moves, Dish Network may be looking to upset Sprint’s strategy by any means necessary in order to establish itself, and Sprint’s/SoftBank’s current strategy hinges on the complete Clearwire purchase in order to justify the $8 billion stake in the 4th place carrier, despite prohibiting Sprint from paying more than $2.97/share, which has angered some shareholders.
Currently, Clearwire has yet to respond to the offer while it continues to go through the motions of the Sprint purchase and there is no immediate word on Clearwire’s response to Dish Network.