For years now, satellite TV provider Dish Network has been making noises about jumping into the wireless game. Now, Peter Svensson of the Associated Press reports, they’ve put together a blockbuster deal:
Dish Network Corp. is trying to snag U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. away from its Japanese suitor in recognition of the way satellite dishes are losing their relevance in the age of cellphones that play YouTube videos.
Dish offered $25.5 billion in cash and stock on Monday for Sprint, which Dish says beats the offer from Japan’s Softbank Corp. Softbank is offering $20 billion in cash, and shareholders get to keep 30 percent of Sprint. Dish is offering $17.3 billion in cash, and Sprint shareholders get 32 percent of the combined Dish-Sprint.
Sprint already leads all other U.S. carriers when it comes to spectrum holdings, so its combination with Dish — which currently controls a lot of spectrum of its own — may be a big hurdle with regulators. Still, given the pokiness of regulatory relief when it comes to wireless and spectrum, proposed deals such as this one shouldn’t be surprising. Stay tuned.