June 19 - Sprint shares decline as Dish Network bails out of a bidding war to acquire the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier, but there is still more to fight over. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Shares of Sprint are falling with the fight over the third largest wireless service provider seemingly over for now. Dish Network is hanging up on its bid - failing to sweeten an offer in time for a Tuesday deadline. That now paves the way for Japan's Softbank to go ahead, unrivaled, with its offer to buy Sprint. That offer was recently pushed up to $21.6 billion after Sprint investors warmed up to Dish. Sprint investors are scheduled to vote on the Softbank offer on June 25th. So where does that leave Dish? Shares are getting a bounce as the satellite TV provider can now focus on wireless spectrum company Clearwire in hopes of expanding growth prospects beyond the slowing TV business. The strategy, however, is fuzzy to Rob Cyran of Reuters Breakingviews. SOUNDBITE: ROB CYRAN, COLUMNIST, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Dish has spectrum of its own. It bought some spectrum from satellite companies and now it's got permission from regulators to use it for cell phone usage, the problem is - it hasn't done anything with it. What does it want to do with the spectrum? Does it want to flip it? Does it want to develop it because it has to develop it within four years. It is not clear." To complicate things further - Clearwire's board is backing Dish's offer over a competing bid from majority stakeholder Sprint. So the acrimony and the fight between Dish and Sprint are far from over.