Last October, Sprint announced that Japanese mobile-phone giant SoftBank planned to acquire 70 percent of the Overland Park-based cellphone company. Today, satellite TV company Dish threw a wrench in things when it announced that it wants to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion.
Dish CEO Charles Ergen told The Wall Street Journal that if his company picks up the nation's third-largest cell provider, his company could provide customers with video, high-speed Internet and voice service both at subscribers' homes and away from home.
"We think we've made an offer that's much more compelling than the SoftBank transaction," the Journal says of his unsolicited offer.
The offer values Sprint shares at $7, which would be bought with both cash and Dish stock. The New York Times reports that the valuation is 12.5 percent higher than Sprint shares closed at on Friday.
"The Dish proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal," Elgen told The Times.
Sprint hasn't commented yet on the offer, but industry analysts have said it makes sense for Sprint to sell itself. The company has more than 50 million users but has struggled against AT&T and Verizon. Sprint is also under pressure from T-Mobile's pending purchase of the smaller provider MetroPCS.