The three wireless deals of the year now have another thing in common. Softbank has now sweetened the pot a bit in hopes of winning shareholder support for their deal and delayed the vote, much as happened recently with Sprint’s bid for Clearwire and for DT’s purchase of MetroPCS in April. And while I doubt they will make Crest Financial happy, they did bring the hedge fund Paulson & Co on board.
Under the new terms, Sprint’s shareholders get $4.5B more in cash than before as Softbank will now be paying $5.50 of the $7.65 per share pricetag in cash. But they’ll get less stock in the process, and Softbank will end up with 78% of the company. The net benefit boosts the overall valuation of the deal by $1.5B to $21.6B, and leaves less cash on Sprint’s balance sheet afterwards.
Meanwhile, Sprint’s board of directors has ended discussions with Dish after the special committee unanimously determined that a ‘superior offer’ was not likely to emerge. Dish still has until June 18 to put up a ‘best and final’ offer, however. That would be a week before the new date of Sprint’s shareholder vote which is now set for the 25th.
In other words, there will be no resolution this week. Neither company has any intention of backing off, and I doubt very much we have heard the last from Charlie Ergen. This was more of a restructured bid than a raise, one that attempts some tactical finesse — as opposed to those beanballs Charlie Ergen has been throwing. The complexity here is such that the ‘superior offer’ lies in the eye of the beholder, or in this case beholders.
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