Although Sprint is currently being wooed by both Softbank and Dish Network, Sprint’s leadership clearly has a preferred winner in mind. Yesterday, Sprint publicized two separate press releases in favor of the merger with Softbank, even going so far as to claim that Dish’s attempts to acquire Clearwire are illegal.
Specifically, Sprint claims that Dish’s demand to designate at least three Clearwire Board members, along with the right to veto certain Clearwire actions that it doesn’t like, are violations of the EHA or Delaware law. Similarly, Sprint says that Dish is requiring Sprint to give up some of its rights over Clearwire without recourse, and therefore Dish’s offer is “not actionable.”
In Sprint’s second press release, it applauded the recommendation of a major advisory board, the Institutional Stockholder Services, for Sprint to proceed with the Softbank transaction. The ISS said that Softbank’s previous cellular experience will bring “demonstrable and potentially critical technological expertise” to Sprint. It went on to state, “SoftBank’s experience mastering this technology in building its own network – arguably the fastest network in the world – will be immensely helpful to Sprint as it is only beginning to focus on its own network improvements. With the knowledge and experience of SoftBank at its back, Sprint will be a stronger competitor with a fuller toolkit.”
Since everything still seems to be largely up in the air, we’ll still have to wait and see how this plays out. I’ve personally been going back and forth between rooting for Dish and for Softbank, but in all honesty, it is anyone’s guess as to how this will all turn out.[Sprint: 1, 2]