Dish Network: Our merger with Sprint would be good for America

Dish Network bid for Sprint Nextel against SoftBank
Dishing out the rhetoric

In its bid to take over Sprint Nextel, Dish Network is hitting back against rival suitor SoftBank, citing that, as an American satellite provider, it could better control Sprint's operations.

"We are an American company, and the modernization of Sprint's network will have to be done from the U.S.," said Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen to USA Today.

"You have to climb the towers here, and you'll have to have U.S. employees who speak English. Operations command control will be in America."

"That's good for jobs," he pointed out.

Ergen noted that it doesn't mean "the other guys," meaning Tokyo-based SoftBank, are bad. He claims that Dish's regional proximity is an advantage.

Softbank hits hard

The Dish Network chairman's comments regarding the contentious bid for the third-place U.S. carrier are in response to some fighting words by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Son had called Dish's offer for Sprint Nextel "incomplete and illusory" this week, according to USA Today citing the Associated Press.

The rhetoric comes as SoftBank's $20 billion bid for Sprint for a 70 percent stake in the company has been challenged by Dish Network's $25.5 billion offering in cash and stock.

Softbank CEO argues that despite Dish's higher bid, marrying the U.S.'s third-place TV provider with its third-place wireless carrier isn't going to create as much value.

Instead, Son sees a merged Dish-Sprint company saddled with more debt.

SEC dishes out SoftBank approval

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved SoftBank's buy out of Sprint-Nextel, clearing a major hurdle for the Japanese telecommunications company.

"Spectrum is a national security issue," said Ergen, referencing Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission setbacks that SoftBank has faced.

"You want that network to be secure," he said of the rival Japanese company's bid.

The ultimate decision will be made by Sprint shareholders, who are closing in on a June 12 vote in which they will either approve or pass on a SoftBank-Sprint merger.

The shareholders could turn down the SoftBank offer in an effort to lure the Japanese company into raising the stakes so that it meets or exceeds Dish's bid.

Or, as Ergen hopes, the shareholders could opt for Dish Network's higher bid.

"We're offering a higher price," said Ergen "That's just math."

Matt Swider