Sprint today announced a special committee of independent directors who will evaluate Dish Network’s $25.5 billion proposed merger. The committee will decide if Dish’s proposal is, or “is reasonably likely to lead to,” a superior offer to Softbank’s near $20 billion bid to acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint.
The committee consists of Larry C. Glasscock, serving as chairman, as well as James H. Hance, Jr., V. Janet Hill, William R. Nuti and Rodney O’Neal.
Since Dish last week jumped in with the unsolicited merger bid, Sprint has been fairly quiet.
Softbank still appears confident in the value of its offer for Sprint, with a Bloomberg report citing sources at the Japanese carrier as saying it had no plans to improve its bid.
Both Sprint and Softbank Friday filed with the FCC in opposition to Dish’s request to have their acquisition approval process held in abeyance.
Dish, who got the go ahead from the FCC to deploy a terrestrial wireless network on its 20 MHz of AWS spectrum, needs an infrastructure-ready partner in order to meet the FCC’s imposed deadline for coverage on those airwaves. If Sprint agrees to go in with Dish, the nation’s third-largest carrier and the satellite TV provider could gain ground in the U.S. market through the ability to bundle services.
“Dish and Sprint could quickly offer TV, broadband and mobile bundles to compete more effectively with larger integrated telecoms players such as Verizon and AT&T,” said Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.