SoftBank is reaching deeper into its pockets to increase its bid for third-place US carrier Sprint, raising the stakes to $21.6 billion in cash and stock. The bump is coming in the form of extra cash — $4.5 billion worth — but the nominal total still remains lower than Dish’s $25.5 billion bid. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had previously been adamant that even though Dish is offering a higher figure, his company’s bid offers a better value for shareholders, calling Dish’s bid "incomplete and illusory." A shareholder vote on SoftBank’s proposal had been planned for Wednesday, but Sprint's board has since pushed it back to June 25th.
"We continue to believe that Sprint has tremendous value."
The board has unanimously backed SoftBank’s proposal, and the two companies are hoping to close the deal by early July, but Dish isn’t giving up without a fight. CEO Charlie Engel has previously said that "culture matters" in the acquisition, repeatedly pointing to national security concerns, and even drawing comparisons to the Dubai Ports World controversy in a bid to agitate investor unease. Dish promptly issued a response to SoftBank’s higher bid, hinting at the possibility of increasing its own offer in response. "We continue to believe that Sprint has tremendous value. We will analyze the revised SoftBank bid as we consider our strategic options," it said.