Not To Be Deterred, SoftBank Looks To T-Mobile as Fallback Plan

Michael Teague  |

The Japanese telecom carrier SoftBank was only trying to purchase Sprint Nextel (S), the U.S.’s third largest wireless carrier.
The company was trying to make its entry into the U.S. wireless market with a $20.1 billion purchase of that was agreed to by Sprint way back in October of last year. In April, however, Dish Network (DISH) stepped in to the game with a significantly increased counter-offer of $25.5 billion.
But Dish did not stop at a counter-offer; they embarked on what can only be called a thinly veiled xenophobic smear-campaign, taking out ads in newspapers, and even setting up a website to alert Americans of the threat posed by SoftBank and its alleged ties to Chinse government and military hacking.
No matter that SoftBank agreed to absorb significant losses from the cost of removing certain Chinese-made components from its products, or that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has approved the deal after doing an extensive review of its own.
And no matter either that another company that Dish is trying to buy, Clearwire (CLWR), uses components in its devices that are made by some of the same Chinese companies that SoftBank had agreed to discontinue using to close the Sprint deal. To make things more confusing, Dish is also waging a battle with Sprint over the acquisition of Clearwire.
SoftBank, however, seems undeterred in its resolve, and is rekindling talks it previously held with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile US (TMUS), the U.S.’s fourth largest wireless carrier. The news comes less than a week before Sprint’s shareholders vote to approve the SoftBank deal.
Shares for T-Mobile US jumped over 3 percent towards Friday’s close, to $21.31, while Sprint lost 1.36 percent to $7.24. Dish, for its part, gained 1.45 percent to $39.14, but dropped 1.55 percent in late trading.
Dish network is struggling to remain a relevant company with the acquisition of a major telecom. Purchasing Sprint would allow the company to offer bundled phone and cable service, allowing it to compete with other companies like Time Warner Cable (TWC), Verizon Wireless (VZ), and AT&T (T).

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