Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S)’s effort to turn into a stronger national carrier to effectively contend Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s duopoly is facing endless challenges. Just when the cellphone carrier revised its Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) bid to appease the latter’s opposing minority shareholders, DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) made an even higher offer of $4.40 per share for the Bellevue carrier. Clearwire, which was scheduled to hold a shareholders’ meeting to decide on Sprint’s sweetened bid on Friday, pushed back the voting date to June 13 so that it gets time to evaluate Dish’s proposal. However, the company hasn’t changed its recommendation of Sprint’s offer to its shareholders.
The Colorado-based satellite provider’s last minute attack has yet again disturbed Sprint’s new proposal to Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR), and added to the confusion in the three way merger deal. All this has brought about huge anxiety among investors who are puzzled as to how to deal with it. Let’s try to analyze if Sprint is the right stock to buy or hold, or if it’s a sell:
Dish’s hard play hits Sprint
Acquiring Clearwire and gaining complete access to the carrier’s spectrum is critical to Sprint’s plan to combine with Softbank and build its 4G LTE network. However, DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) continues to be a permanent roadblock in every action of the third largest US wireless carrier.
When Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) made a $2.97 a share offer to Clearwire, Dish made a counteroffer of $3.30 a share. At the same time, the satellite TV operator also made a separate $25.5 billion bid for Sprint, thereby challenging the Japanese Softbank’s $20.1 billion proposal. And now, when Sprint raised its proposal to $3.40 a share, Dish spoiled the show by making a 29% higher bid which values Clearwire at around $6.5 billion including Sprint’s 50% stake.
DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH)’s new proposal includes a funding of $80 million a month, similar to what Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) had proposed. Clearwire has declined Sprint’s $80 million for the month of June so that it can continue negotiation with Dish. The regional carrier has not said if it would accept Dish’s money for the month.
So what is Dish up to?
Dish’s recent actions have made it difficult to understand its goal. The pay-TV operator recently purchased huge chunk of wireless airwaves to join forces with a wireless carrier and put those spectrum in use as it continues to lose customers in its core business. So is it trying to partner with Sprint? Or make a strategic move by making a counter bid for Clearwire? Or is it working to form a situation where Sprint would have to partner with Dish, and put its network on DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH)’s airwaves?
The satellite operator’s acquisition proposal for Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) and Clearwire is aimed at setting a wireless network to make an entry in the telecom space. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) analyst says that Dish’s action is a strategic move to acquire Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) and make Sprint less attractive to Softbank. This would force Sprint get into partnership talks with Dish, which would in turn finally convert the latter’s wireless dream into a reality.