SoftBank appears confident in the superiority of its $20.1 billion bid for 70 percent of Sprint but just in case, it’s playing hardball with banks that could potentially help finance Dish Network’s $25.5 billion opposing bid.
A Reuters report cited two sources suggesting SoftBank, which owns 33 percent of Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, has told lenders their chances of underwriting Alibaba’s imminent IPO could be jeopardized by aiding Dish in financing its Sprint bid.
Bloomberg reported Friday that Dish has already lined up Jefferies Group to assist in financing its offer. The sources believed that Jefferies was looking to find one or two more banks to go in on the estimated $9.3 billion package.
During its first quarter conference call last week, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen noted that his company’s proposed merger with Sprint was significant to the satellite-TV provider’s future, going so far as to say Dish might consider selling itself if the deal were to fall through.
Ergen and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son have been at odds the last two weeks over which offer represents the best value. Dish could offer a unique TV bundling option when combined with Sprint’s wireless service, but SoftBank has experience deploying mobile services, particularly TD-LTE.
Dish has reportedly pushed Sprint to open its books so Dish can perform due diligence on the deal while Sprint has said Dish must elaborate on the value implied by its offer as well as line up the necessary financing.