It has only been 2 years since DISH Network bought Blockbuster and did absolutely nothing with it. Now, DISH is interested in picking up two more distressed companies, hopefully with a different fate. Even though Sprint has entered into a tentative deal with Softbank, DISH has offered $25.5 billion, as opposed to Softbank's $20.1 billion.
This week, as the Softbank deal gets initial government approval, DISH made a bold move, taking out a full-page ad in The Washington Post, questioning the security issues with a Japanese company having majority control of a US wireless carrier. Of course, we know that T-Mobile International AG owns T-Mobile US, but that one is alright. He does have a point, however, as foreign interests might want in on our wireless carriers for nefarious reasons.
Immediately following the ad, DISH Network also upped the ante on their bid to purchase Clearwire. Sprint had originally offered $2.97 per share to take compete ownership of the company, which DISH countered with $3.30 per share less than a month later. This week they offered $4.40 per share, countering Sprint's own increased offer of $3.40 per share. After the Sprint increase, the Clearwire board of directors recommended to the shareholders to accept the offer.
DISH Chairman Charles Ergen said,
The Clearwire spectrum portfolio has always been a key component to implementing our wireless plans on delivering a superior product and service offering to customers.
So, does that mean they will continue to compete, possibly with themselves, to own the company? Is DISH so focused on competing in the incredibly rough wireless industry that they will cost themselves extra to purchase a company that could be owned by a company they also want to purchase? Only time can tell, but Ergen is playing an interesting game of poker against a competitor who doesn't know they are playing.