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It must suck to be an executive at Dish Network right now. That’s because Sprint just increased its bid for Clearwire to $5 per share, valuing Clearwire at about $14 billion, which is much higher than Dish’s previous offer of $4.40. This comes after Dish gave up on trying to acquire Sprint, since Softbank was able to offer a higher per-share price, as well.

So, for those of you keeping track at home:

  • Sprint made an offer for Clearwire.
  • Softbank made an offer for Sprint.
  • Dish made an offer for Clearwire and Sprint.
  • Softbank outbid Dish for Sprint.
  • Sprint outbid Dish for Clearwire.
  • Sprint, Clearwire, and Softbank are happy, while Dish is hung out to dry.

In the event that the merger between Sprint and Clearwire does not occur, Clearwire will be forced to pay Sprint a breakup fee of $115 million. Clearwire’s spectrum is valuable to Sprint, especially as Softbank intends to use it in Sprint’s future LTE rollout. Still, Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son says that “It’s too early to heave a sigh of relief. Nothing can be ruled out until the end of the shareholders meeting at Sprint,” even though most analysts say that Sprint’s latest bid has effectively pushed Dish out of the game.

It’s unclear what is in store for Dish, which remains determined to enter the wireless space – perhaps it will pursue an acquisition of T-Mobile next?

[Sprint | Kansas City Star] Thanks, Terrel and Bill!