Softbank ups Sprint offer

Japan’s Softbank has increased the value of its offer for US carrier Sprint by $1.5bn to $21.6bn in an attempt to seal shareholder acceptance of the deal. As well as increasing the total amount payable the deal has been restructured to give shareholders an additional $4.5bn.

Softbank’s share in New Sprint (the holding company which will own Sprint if the deal goes through) rises to 78 per cent under the amended offer.

Sprint’s board of directors has given this latest offer its unanimous support, having ended negotiations with US satellite provider Dish Networks on the basis that Dish did not “put forward an actionable offer”. Dish, which laid a $25.5bn bid for Sprint on the table in April, said it would consider its “strategic options”.

“The amended agreement delivers more upfront cash to Sprint stockholders, while still achieving our goal of creating a well-capitalized Sprint that is better positioned to bring meaningful competition to the US market,” said SoftBank CEO, Masayoshi Son.  “Our transaction offers significant value for Sprint stockholders and the opportunity to realize that value in just a few weeks, without the risks associated with any other potential transaction.”

The increased return to shareholders will be covered in part by the additional $1.5bn and in part by a $3bn reduction in the $8bn that had been set aside under the original terms to strengthen the Sprint balance sheet.

Sprint and Softbank reiterated that they expect the deal to close in July.

Earlier this week it was reported that Softbank was considering a bid for US operator T-Mobile, should its bid for Sprint prove unsuccessful.

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