SoftBank to Acquire Sprint Nextel, CEO Boasts Big Plans

SoftBank Corp. is expected to take over Sprint Nextel in a $21.6 billion deal, while separately, Sprint raised its Clearwire offer to $5 a share, beating a rival bid from Dish Network. Masayoshi Son — chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank, who founded the company in 1981 — told shareholders at an annual meeting in Tokyo on Friday that he plans on SoftBank becoming “the world’s biggest company.” Sprint shareholders are scheduled to vote on the takeover tomorrow.

“Everyone accused me of being full of hot air when I promised I would achieve trillions of yen in sales… They laughed when I said unapologetically in the year we made our biggest loss that I would soon earn trillions of yen in profits,” Son told his shareholders. “I now say, we will become the world’s biggest company — by all measures, whether by sales, profit, or market cap.”

According to Son, the scale and buying power of the two companies combined will generate $2-3 billion in cost savings annually in the first three years following the close of the deal, expected by July.

“Dish Chairman Charles Ergen, meanwhile, could be forced to search anew for a partner that could help the satellite TV provider get into the wireless phone business. Dish owns billions of dollars worth of spectrum but lacks a network to put it to use,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “Dish has fought this year to buy Sprint and Clearwire.”

Dish Network’s “next move may be to resurrect merger talks with satellite rival DirecTV or re-engage wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc., analysts said on Friday. Dish earlier this year held preliminary discussions about a possible merger with the wireless phone company, which is majority owned by Deutsche Telekom AG,” reports WSJ in a related article.

“By process of elimination, Dish is going to be dragged kicking and screaming into what was the best option from the beginning: a merger with DirecTV,” said Craig Moffett, analyst at cable and satellite researcher Moffett Research.

Related News:
SoftBank’s CEO Boasts at Shareholder Meeting, The Wall Street Journal, 6/21/13
Sprint Beats Dish’s Latest Bid for Clearwire, The New York Times, 6/20/13
Sprint Raises Clearwire Bid to $5 a Share, The Wall Street Journal, 6/21/13
Dish May Cast a Wider Net, The Wall Street Journal, 6/21/13
Sprint’s Clearwire Acquisition: Who’s Going to Make What?, AllThingsD, 6/23/13

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