DISH Statement on SoftBank's Claims and Attempt to Control Assets of National Strategic Importance
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) today responded to the recently launched SoftBank web page [http://www.softbank....print/benefits/] touting the purported benefits of its attempt to gain control of Sprint. DISH's proposal will deliver nearly all the key benefits of the SoftBank-Sprint transaction and more, including 40 MHz of additional mid-band spectrum and cable-quality broadband access to approximately 40 million unserved and underserved consumers in rural America -- all built on a foundation of an American company investing cash from an American balance sheet to make another American company more competitive for the benefit of all American consumers.
In fact, a DISH/Sprint merger is superior in several important areas:
- DISH's $25.5 billion offer is better for shareholders, offering more cash and stock in a strategically superior company than the SoftBank proposal provides for Sprint shareholders.
- The SoftBank investment to control Sprint is a financial transaction, not a commercial merger, given that SoftBank has no U.S. operations to combine with Sprint. DISH/Sprint creates the only company that offers convenient, fully integrated nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services. The combination also provides substantial synergies and a significantly enhanced strategic position.
- With the largest spectrum portfolio and as the only telecommunications company to deliver voice, video and data in- and out-of-the home, DISH/Sprint would be better positioned to challenge AT&T and Verizon than SoftBank-Sprint. SoftBank brings no spectrum to the merger. DISH brings 45 MHz of low- and mid-band spectrum with an estimated value of $10 billion, plus robust cash flows.
- A DISH-Sprint will be better for national security by preserving domestic ownership, control and accountability over Sprint's national wireless network and fiber backbone network, which provides classified services to government, law enforcement and military customers.
SoftBank also used its new web content to defend foreign investment in the U.S. telecom sector, citing the presence of Vodafone, through Verizon Wireless, and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile operation in the U.S.
"Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are not relevant to the national security discussion surrounding the proposed acquisition of Sprint by SoftBank," said Stanton Dodge, DISH executive vice president and general counsel. "Times have changed and there can be no doubt that today, a nationwide wireless network is an asset of national strategic importance. Additionally, unlike Sprint, neither Verizon wireless nor T-Mobile control a national fiber backbone serving national security interests including defense, law enforcement and other sensitive governmental operations."
SoftBank also apparently committed to using only network equipment that is acceptable to the U.S. Government, which DISH believes validates the national security concerns that it has raised with respect to SoftBank-Sprint. Further, if the news reports are accurate, and CFIUS has concerns with respect to the use of Chinese manufactured equipment on a foreign-controlled Clearwire network, then as much as $1 billion would have to be added to the cost of the proposed SoftBank-Sprint transaction.
DISH is committed to working with the appropriate regulatory agencies to meet national security goals.
"There is a bright line between DISH and SoftBank: DISH is not foreign-controlled, nor is its proposal subject to CFIUS," said Dodge. "The question is about who should control and who will be accountable for assets — the Sprint national wireless and backbone fiber networks — that are vital to our national security."
Dodge continued: "The contrast is clear: DISH does not operate infrastructure dependent on Chinese equipment; DISH does not own nearly a third of the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba; DISH was not affiliated with a company that admitted bribing Chinese officials for telecommunications contracts."