updated 01:19 pm EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
Shareholders to vote on June 12th, deal could close July 1st
The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the proposal from SoftBank to buy out Sprint. While shareholders in the US carrier are expected to discuss and vote on the deal at a meeting next month, the chairman of Dish Network has made comments against the proposal, citing the need for Sprint's network to be upgraded by US teams.
The vote meeting is scheduled for June 12th and will be held in Overland Park, Kansas. Shareholders will be mailed a proxy statement by Sprint ahead of the vote, and so long as the proposal is given the final OK from the voters, SoftBank hopes to close the deal on July 1st.
Dish chairman Charlie Ergen, in an interview with USA Today on Wednesday, reaffirmed the $25.5 billion rival bid from Dish as the better option compared to SoftBank's $20.1 billion deal. "We're offering a higher price. That's just math," claimed Ergen, before commenting on the potential effectiveness of SoftBank employees in working on Sprint's towers. "We are an American company, and the modernization of Sprint's network will have to be done for the US. You have to climb the towers here, and you'll have to have US employees who speak English."
Ergen's comments come after SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son stated he believed there to be "absolutely no need" for a sweetening of the proposal, since "we believe our offer is above theirs." During the SoftBank financial results, Son proceeded to explain how SoftBank's proposal exceeded that of Dish in "eleven key areas," and that the transaction in total is worth 21-percent more, despite the size of Dish's offer.
Speaking about what was mentioned during the SoftBank results conference call, Ergen found the tone to be unsettling, finding it to be "more personal attack and personality than it was about business," adding "It's insulting to managers of Sprint to say that the only team that knows how to build a network is in Japan." In the end, Ergen believes the Sprint shareholders will decide on which deal is better from the numbers, "That's the way capitalism works in the US."