May 13 - SoftBank asks banks not to finance Dish's Sprint bid in a new development of an ongoing clash of giants over $22 billion Sprint. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is $22 billion. That's the worth, or market capitalization, of Sprint Nextel Corporation. The No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider is at the center of an ongoing clash of giants - American satellite service provide Dish Network and Japanese telecom company SoftBank. Both are trying to close in on a deal to buy Sprint. The bloody battle has been going on for weeks, but in the most recent development, SoftBank is threatening banks not to finance Dish's bid, according to sources familiar with the matter. Or else. The 'else' means less chance to land a role in a highly anticipated public offering of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant that SoftBank hold a 33 percent stake in. As of now, there is no set date for Alibaba's IPO and no one knows how big it's going to be, but it is one of the most highly anticipated technology deals after Facebook's offering last year, and will certainly generate lofty fees for Wall Street banks. SoftBank's threat is legal and seems to be working, because at least one major bank has withdrawn from financing the Dish bid for Sprint. The back story is that SoftBank agreed in October last year to buy 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion. But in April Dish made a $25-1/2 billion counter offer. None of three companies named wanted to comment.