WASHINGTON, April 18 Dish Network Corp
is asking U.S. regulators to suspend the review of the proposed
acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corp to Japan's SoftBank Corp
, saying its own counteroffer would be preferable for
U.S. national security reasons.
Dish in the past has asked the Federal Communications
Commission for such a suspension, but in a filing posted online
on Thursday, the satellite TV provider reinforced the request
with arguments about its own, unsolicited $25.5 billion bid it
made for Sprint on Monday.
In the filing, Dish touted the premium its $25.5 billion bid
would offer Sprint shareholders and also pointed to SoftBank's
foreign origin, saying that the Japanese company lacked the
"existing in-market infrastructure," among other things.
"DISH's merger proposal is better for American consumers,
better for Sprint shareholders, and better for U.S. national
security than the SoftBank proposal," the filing says.
Dish asked the FCC to withhold its ruling on the merger
until Sprint's board responds to its own offer.
Federal regulators put extra scrutiny on merger deals
involving foreign-owned entities to ensure independence and
protection of the U.S. networks.
Charlie Ergen, chairman of the No. 2 U.S. satellite TV
company Dish, is challenging SoftBank's $20.1 billion offer to
buy 70 percent of the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider Sprint,
prompting support from major shareholders including hedge funds
Paulson & Co and Omega Advisors.
Sprint's board is now studying the Dish offer.
Shares of Sprint rose 0.4 percent to $7.12 on Thursday. They
had jumped sharply on the news of Dish's bid, which was the
boldest step yet by Ergen, who has spent billions of dollars on
wireless spectrum in the last few years.