Dish trumps Sprint’s offer for Clearwire with $2.3 billion bid

MERIDAN, Col., Wed Jan 9, 2013 — Dish Network put in a bid for Clearwire Corp. on Tuesday that trumped Sprint Nextel’s $2.2 billion offer, setting the stage for a takeover battle for the wireless service provider that owns crucial mobile spectrum.

Dish’s $2.28 billion offer appeared to affirm the satellite television provider’s ambitious plan to buy its way into the wireless services industry, on which it has already spent $3 billion acquiring much-needed capacity.

Dish’s straight-talking chairman Charlie Ergen says he wants to enter the mobile broadband market, and one way of doing it is to partner with another operator. But some analysts have speculated that Ergen is amassing spectrum — an increasingly valuable commodity as use of media-consuming mobile devices such as tablets intensifies — to flip it for a handsome profit.

The success of his latest move hinges on a number of conditions, not least of which is approval by wireless carrier Sprint, the No.3 U.S. carrier that owns just over 50 percent of Clearwire and is also keen to buy up the rest of the company.

Clearwire on Tuesday made it clear that the Dish proposal of $3.30 per share — surpassing Sprint’s $2.97 offer — was only a preliminary indication of interest and subject to a number of uncertainties, conditions and approvals.

Significantly, it said it had not yet drawn on financing pledged by Sprint as part of the carrier’s acquisition agreement, to allow it to consider Dish’s proposal.

Dish Network adds more subscribers than expected

MERIDIAN, Col., Mon May 7, 2012 – Dish Network Corp., the second-largest satellite TV company behind DirecTV, added more subscribers than expected in the first quarter after holding the line on prices for its programming packages.

Dish, whose shares rose 1 percent in premarket trading, added a net 104,000 subscribers during the quarter, topping analysts’ average estimate of 62,000, according to StreetAccount data. It was Dish’s second quarter in a row of subscriber growth, after shedding about 250,000 subscribers during the second and third quarters of 2011.

The company’s churn rate, or rate of cancellations, decreased to 1.35 percent compared to 1.47 percent for the same period in 2011, when it raised prices, Dish said on Monday.

“It’s a challenging environment with increased pricing pressure but you are seeing Dish execute better than last year,” said Brean Murray analyst Todd Mitchell.

Dish’s first-quarter net income fell to $360 million, or 80 cents a share, from $549 million, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier. A year ago, it had the benefit of $340 million in a reversal of expenses related to its legal settlement with TiVo.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $3.58 billion, narrowly missing analysts’ expectations of $3.6 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Dish has spent nearly $3 billion on wireless spectrum and assets in the last year as it seeks to diversify its business beyond satellite pay-television.

Dish said it needs an approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission before it can enter the wireless market.