Dish keeps pushing, but SoftBank has more cash on the table
The ever-changing saga between Sprint, SoftBank and Dish continues today with new information regarding both talks between Sprint and Dish as well as a revised offer coming out of Japan. Dish, which has an offer on the table for Sprint to the tune of $25.5 billion is in advanced talks with the carrier that may end soon if specifics of the deal cannot be agreed upon. The current hang-up is over a proposed "breakup fee" -- Dish is offering a fee of $1 billion, while Sprint is expecting something more to the tune of $3 billion. Much like the one that AT&T had penned with T-Mobile, the breakup fee requires that Dish pay Sprint if its deal is not approved by the necessary regulatory agencies. Sprint wants to make sure that going through the regulatory approval process with Dish will be worth its while, especially considering that the regulatory bodies seem to approve of the Sprint-SoftBank deal already.
Meanwhile, in a last-ditch effort to outdo Dish in terms of raw cash thrown at Sprint, SoftBank has changed the structure of its bid to make it more appealing. The Japanese carrier is now offering a full $21.6 billion for a 78-percent share of Sprint, an increase from $20.1 billion and 70-percent previously. It has also increased the cash portion of the offer to a total of $16.64 billion, or $5.50 a share, which now beats Dish on a cash-basis. Being the capital-strapped carrier that it is, Sprint may see the increase in cash as just what it needs to quickly expand its LTE network after the deal closes.
Sprint is swaying in the direction of SoftBank for the moment, turning down Dish's current offer and giving it until just June 18th to give its "best and final offer" for the carrier. Indications are that this is also the most SoftBank is willing to budge, having added to and revised the terms of its deal multiple times since first announcing that it planned to step into the U.S. market. Let's remember that Dish still has a play on the table for Clearwire, which could cause more headaches if Sprint chooses to go with another buyer.