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Dish boss: We're English-speaking Americans, hire us!

Ignore those Japanese foreigners, they just get 'personal'

Dish Network chair Charlie Ergen has offered a pointed response to Japan's SoftBank after it made what he called "personal attacks" in its bidding war with the US company over US mobile network Sprint. The exec said yesterday that Dish is the better bet because its employees are Americans who speak English.

Ergen pointed out that Dish's offer of $25.5bn was higher than the $20.1bn bid from the Japanese firm, but couldn't resist adding that he thought Dish was just a better fit in general.

"We are an American company, and the modernisation of Sprint's network will have to be done from the US. You have to climb the towers here, and you'll have to have US employees who speak English. Operations command control will be in America. That's good for jobs," he told USA Today.

"It doesn't mean that the other guys are bad. It's just that we have an advantage."

Ergen's comments come after SoftBank's chief exec Masayoshi Son told reporters in Tokyo that Dish's offer was "incomplete and illusory".

He said he was sure his firm would get the deal done without raising its bid, adding that Dish's plan would load the merged companies with burdensome debt.

Despite the fact that the same charge could now be levelled at him, Ergen said he didn't like the way Son had got "personal" when talking about the competing offers.

"I was disappointed by the conference. It was more (about) personal attack and personality than it was about business," he said. "It's insulting to managers of Sprint to say that the only team that knows how to build a network is in Japan."

Ergen also said he doubted that Son could hold his nerve and keep SoftBank's bid at its current level.

"That was the biggest bluff of the day," he said. ®

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