Ina Fried

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SoftBank’s New Bid Gives Shareholders More Money, but New Sprint Would Have Less Cash

Sprint and SoftBank announced a revised deal Monday that calls for the Japanese company to increase its total investment by $1.5 billion, to $21.6 billion.


But, in addition to modestly raising its offer, SoftBank is also dramatically shifting where its cash is going.

Under the amended deal, an extra $4.5 billion of cash goes to existing Sprint shareholders.

The revised bid comes just ahead of a scheduled shareholder vote and amid competing interest from Dish Network.

The direct impact is twofold. It means that Sprint shareholders will get $1.48 more per share in cash ($5.50 instead of $4.02). It also means that SoftBank will own more of the combined company (78 percent vs. 70 percent).

But, this also means that the new Sprint will have less cash to work with under the revised deal. That’s money that Sprint could have put toward network investments and other areas needed to compete with its two larger rivals, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Sprint and SoftBank downplayed the importance of the multi-billion-dollar shift.

“SoftBank and Sprint believe that the reallocation of primary capital to Sprint stockholders is warranted given the companies’ refined operating and capital expenditure synergy expectations resulting from extensive due diligence over the past nine months, as well as Sprint’s improving profitability and execution of its Network Vision plan,” the companies said in the press release announcing the revised deal.

Sprint also said that its board committee has found it unlikely that Dish Networks will put forth a better offer, though it did give the satellite provider until June 18 to come up with a best and final offer.

“We have expended substantial time and energy engaging with DISH over the past nine weeks, including an extensive due diligence process, but these efforts did not lead, in the Special Committee’s view, to a proposal that was reasonably likely to lead to a proposal superior to SoftBank’s,” Sprint board member Larry Glasscock said in a statement.

A Dish Network representative was not immediately available for comment.

A shareholder vote on the SoftBank proposal, which was slated for this week, has been delayed until June 25.

Update: In a statement, Dish said: “We continue to believe that Sprint has tremendous value. We will analyze the revised SoftBank bid as we consider our strategic options.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik