DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) is asking governmental regulators to halt their review of the proposed acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) by Japan’s Softbank Corp. (PINK:SFTBF) citing national security reasons.
This is not the first time that Dish has approached the Federal Communication Commission with an appeal for a suspension, but what makes this request different is that it is coupled with Dish’s own unsolicited $25.5 billion bid that it made for Sprint on Monday.
It is widely believed that the Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) board which had agreed to the SoftBank bid is now considering Dish’s offer. Sprint spokesman John Taylor declined to comment when approached by Reuters.
“DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH)’s merger proposal is better for American consumers, better for Sprint shareholders, and better for national security than the Softbank Corp (PINK:SFTBF) proposal,” the filing says. It also stated that SoftBank lacked the “existing in-market infrastructure” as a foreign entity.
While the filing was made with the FCC it may be that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) rather than the FCC that will play the larger role in the review process.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)’s largest competitor in the U.S. and Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said in an interview today that the battle between DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) and Softbank Corp. (PINK:SFTBF) will only benefit the U.S. wireless industry.
“Anything that builds the industry from an investment standpoint is good,” Shammo said while suggesting that both suitors are “equally good.”
“There are carriers that need additional investment and this is a great way to get there,” Shammo said.
“They’re confirming what we’ve been saying, which is that there’s a lot of growth left in the wireless business,” Shammo added. “You’ve a foreign investor and a domestic investor who now agree on that.”
When Shammo was asked which potential buyer represented the biggest threat to both Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) he chose not to comment. If the people at Dish are to be believed it would seem that Shammo would prefer Softbank Corp. (PINK:SFTBF)’s bid of $20.1 billion for a 70 percent share in the U.S’s third largest wireless provider.
Neither Sprint nor Dish’s stock moved tremendously today given news of the filing, however, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)’s share price did jump sharply on the news of DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH)’s bid on Monday.