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Chair of Dish in dash for Sprint seat: Tries to slurp HALF its shares

Bold move could see Charles Egren slip through telco's back door

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Dish chairman Charles Ergen mighty be able to sneak through the back door into the boardroom where Sprint's special committee are meeting by attempting to snaffle over 50 per cent of the telco's shares.

Sprint said yesterday it had received notice that Ergen was trying to buy up the stocks, through Dish Network or wholly owned subsidiaries of the company, which would give him the inside track on the special committee's discussions of Dish and SoftBank's competing offers for the firm.

Both US satellite telly firm Dish and Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank are eager to take over America's third largest mobile operator, for $25.5bn or $20.1bn respectively, and the competition between the pair has ramped up while a special committee set up by Sprint debates the merits of their bids.

Both firms have made personal statements about the other's bid, with SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son saying Dish's offer is "incomplete and illusory", while Dish's Ergen has suggested that an American firm with English-speaking employees would be a better fit for a US telco.

In a statement on Ergen's attempted share-buying antics, Sprint said the committee was still evaluating Dish's proposal.

"[It] has not yet determined whether the proposal is, or is reasonably likely to lead to, a superior offer as such term is defined in Sprint's existing merger agreement with SoftBank," the firm said. ®

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