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. Stock Analysis

    How UPS Plans to Benefit from Its Coyote Acquisition

    Understand the business models of UPS and Coyote Logistics. Learn about the top four ways in which UPS will benefit from the acquisition of Coyote Logistics.
  2. Stock Analysis

    5 Cheap Dividend Stocks for a Bear Market

    Here are five stocks that pay safe dividends and should be at least somewhat resilient to a bear market.
  3. Investing

    How to Win More by Losing Less in Today’s Markets

    The further you fall, the harder it is to climb back up. It’s a universal truth that is painfully apparent in the investing world.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Use Options Data To Predict Stock Market Direction

    Options market trading data can provide important insights about the direction of stocks and the overall market. Here’s how to track it.
  5. Stock Analysis

    2 Oil Stocks to Buy Right Now (PSX,TSO)

    Can these two oil stocks buck the trend?
  6. Investing News

    What Alcoa’s (AA) Breakup Means for Investors

    Alcoa plans to split into two companies. Is this a bullish catalyst for investors?
  7. Stock Analysis

    Top 3 Stocks for the Coming Holiday Season

    If you want to buck the bear market trend by going long on consumer stocks, these three might be your best bets.
  8. Investing News

    Could a Rate Hike Send Stocks Higher?

    A rate hike would certainly alter the investment scene, but would it be for the better or worse?
  9. Investing News

    Corporate Bonds or Stocks: Which is Better Now?

    With market volatility high, you may think it is time to run for corporate bonds instead of stocks. Before you do take a deeper look into which is better.
  10. Stock Analysis

    This Is What Carl Icahn's Portfolio Looks Like

    Read about some of the holdings in Carl Icahn's portfolio. Learn about his activist campaigns against companies that he believes are performing poorly.
  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!