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Dish abandons Sprint sprint, now in mad dash for Clearwire

Satellite telly firm refuses to make a new offer before Sprint's deadline

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Dish has elected to ditch its pursuit of Sprint for the time being and concentrate on its potentially winning bid for Clearwire.

The satellite TV firm said in a statement that it wasn't going to make an updated offer for the third-largest US wireless provider, after beating it in the board vote for Clearwire, an ISP in which Sprint holds a big stake, and which Dish has been hoping to acquire.

Sprint and Dish had been tussling over Clearwire because of its portfolio of prized wireless spectrum.

“While Dish continues to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint, the decisions made by Sprint to prematurely terminate our due diligence process and accept extreme deal protections in its revised agreement with SoftBank, among other things, have made it impracticable for Dish to submit a revised offer by the June 18th deadline imposed by Sprint," Dish said.

"We will consider our options with respect to Sprint, and focus our efforts and resources on completing the Clearwire tender offer.”

The decision is good news for Japanese rival SoftBank, which has been slowly edging ahead in the race to lay hands on Sprint. Missing the deadline will make it more difficult for Dish to get in a new offer, although technically it has until the 25 June shareholder meeting, when investors will vote on the SoftBank deal, to get a bid in.

SoftBank has also said that it doesn't mind if Clearwire goes to Dish, since Sprint's majority shareholding will pass to it anyway when the merger goes through. The board of Clearwire has unanimously recommended that shareholders take the Dish deal, despite the fact that Sprint has presented a rival bid. ®

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