SoftBank Gives OK To Sprint To Explore Dish Offer

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) on Monday said Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) gave a waiver for Sprint to seek more information from rival suitor DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH).

SoftBank Gives OK To Sprint To Explore Dish Offer

Two weeks ago, Dish sent shock waves to the markets with a counter-offer of $25.5 billion cash and stock for Sprint. DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) claimed its sweetened offer was superior to the $20.1 billion deal struck between Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) and Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) last October. Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint has agreed to sell 70 percent of itself to Japan’s SoftBank Corp for $20.1 billion.

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Last week, Sprint announced its formation of a Special Board Committee to consider the DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) bid. Today Softbank confirmed that at the request of the Special Committee, it has provided Sprint with a limited waiver of certain provisions of the merger agreement between the companies. The waiver will facilitate Sprint to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Dish Network Corporation in order to receive confidential information from Dish, and to conduct discussions with Dish solely for the purpose of clarifying and obtaining additional information from Dish regarding its preliminary proposal made on April 15, 2013. However the waiver does not let Sprint disclose non-public information or negotiate with Dish.

Dish representatives were not immediately available to comment.

Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) said in a statement that it does not intend to comment further on the work of the Special Board Committee assigned to look into the Dish offer.

Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) remains highly confident that its fully executed merger agreement with Sprint, under which it has already provided Sprint with $3.1 billion of capital, provides the shareholders of Sprint significantly more value than the highly leveraged approach made by DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) on April 15th.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) could push for a heightened offer from SoftBank, although the Japanese company has said that it believes its current offer is superior from both short and long-term perspective.

Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) remains fully committed to closing its transaction on the terms previously disclosed. It anticipates closing on July 1, 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter, subject to satisfaction of closing conditions, including receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse expressed confidence that both Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) and Softbank Corp (TYO:9984) (PINK:SFTBF) are on track to complete their merger by July 1.