In a process that has taken eight months now, it looks like SoftBank is going to succeed in its attempt to acquire Sprint (NYSE:S), and that Sprint is going to succeed in its attempt to acquire the remainder of Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR). The fly in both ointments, Dish Networks (Nasdaq:DISH) has apparently abandoned its efforts to acquire Sprint, and likewise appears to be unwilling to try to once again top Sprint's bid for Clearwire.

This all probably brings this particular chapter to a close, but those who think the story in U.S. wireless, broadband, and telecom M&A is over don't know the nature of the parties involved.

Sprint Will Go To SoftBank
Dish Network made it official on Friday that the company had ended its pursuit of Sprint, a move that will allow Softbank to go ahead with its nearly $22 billion deal for the rest of the company. When it was all said and done, Dish couldn't match the firepower SoftBank brought to the table – while Dish's bid of $25.5 billion was certainly nominally larger than SoftBank's, once SoftBank boosted the cash portion of the offer by $4.5 billion (to $16.6 billion), it was pretty much over. With that, Dish Network will buy back the $2.6 billion in debt that it had raised to pay for a bid for the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. 

I would expect things to get interesting for AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in the near future. SoftBank has been a disruptive competitor in Japan for some time now, and CEO Masayoshi Son has the modest goal of someday running the biggest company in the world. Although upping the cash portion of the Sprint bid is going to draw away some funds that the company had set aside for investment into the business, a SoftBank-owned Sprint is going to be a formidable competitor in the coming years.
SEE: How To Pick The Best Telecom Stocks

And Clearwire Goes To Sprint
It would seem that Dish Network is likely going to be a two-time loser in this game of musical chairs, as the company also appears unlikely to succeed in its bid for Clearwire. Although Dish Network coveted Clearwire's spectrum and was quite successful in stirring up resentment against what was initially a low-ball bid by Sprint, here again it seems the company is destined to lose. Dish had bid $4.40 per share for Clearwire, but Sprint ultimately went to $5 (nevermind the “final offer” of about $3 per share back in January of 2013), and I don't think Dish can prevail here either – not when Sprint owns just over 50% and has already gotten the support of some third-party Clearwire investors.

So What's Next For Dish Network?
In principle, the right thing for Dish Network to do is to call up DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) and merge the country's two satellite TV providers. There would be pretty meaningful synergies here, not to mention meaningful international growth potential.

But in the bizarro world that is Dish Network, merging with DirecTV is probably the last option on the list. Dish Network owns spectrum and wanted to get into the wireless market for some time – having lost out on MetroPCS to T-Mobile (which now trades as T-Mobile US (Nasdaq:TMUS)) and now Sprint. Who knows what happens next. I don't see why Dish Network couldn't make a bid for T-Mobile US, or maybe Leap Wireless (Nasdaq:LEAP).

I'm not saying that these would be good moves or value-creating propositions, but it just seems very “un-DISH-like” for the company to quietly go away and give up its wireless ambitions. Who knows, maybe Dish Network somehow tries to get itself involved Verizon's rumored attempts to acquire the 50% stake of Verizon Wireless owned by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) – again, it's not that I see any particular logic in such a move, but nothing about Dish thinking it would ultimately prevail with Sprint or Clearwire was particularly logical.

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Global Telecom

    Learn about the iShares Global Telecom exchange-traded fund, which invests in U.S. and foreign telecommunication companies with high dividend yields.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

    The fight over net neutrality has become an amazing spectacle. But at its core, it's yet another skirmish in cable television's war to remain relevant.
  3. Active Trading Fundamentals

    The Biggest Private Equity Firms in Los Angeles

    Learn why Los Angeles is a thriving market for private equity, and identify the five largest private equity firms operating in the city.
  4. Personal Finance

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged

    Find out about the PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged ETF, and learn detailed information about characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Large Cap Core Plus

    Learn information about the ProShares Large Cap Core Plus ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Core Growth Allocation

    Find out about the iShares Core Growth Allocation Fund, and learn detailed information about its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility

    Learn about the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility exchange-traded fund, which invests in low-volatility equities traded on the U.S. stock market.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Should You Follow Millionaires into This Sector?

    Millionaire investors—and those who follow them—should take another look at the current economic situation before making any more investment decisions.
  10. Professionals

    What to do During a Market Correction

    The market has what? Here's what you should consider rather than panicking.
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Weighted Average Cost Of Capital ...

    A calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category ...
  3. Runoff Insurance

    An insurance policy provision that provides liability coverage ...
  4. Hunting Elephants

    The practice of targeting large companies or customers.
  5. Precedent Transaction Analysis

    A valuation method in which the prices paid for similar companies ...
  6. Poison Put

    A takeover defense strategy in which the target company issues ...
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How long does it take to execute an M&A deal?

    Even the simplest merger and acquisition (M&A) deals are challenging. It takes a lot for two previously independent enterprises ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!