UPDATE 2-Sprint sues Dish, Clearwire as key deadline looms
By Jonathan Stempel and Sruthi Ramakrishnan
June 17 (Reuters) – Sprint Nextel Corp on Monday said it has sued Dish Network Corp to block its tender offer for Clearwire Corp, on the eve of a key deadline in a takeover battle that also includes Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank Corp.
The lawsuit filed on Monday in Delaware Chancery Court accuses Dish of trying to “fool” and “coerce” Clearwire shareholders into tendering their shares, and rejecting Sprint’s competing effort to buy the 49.8 percent it did not already own of the wireless broadband provider.
It came one day before a deadline for Dish to sweeten its earlier $25.5 billion bid to buy Sprint, which has endorsed a competing bid by SoftBank.
Sprint said Dish’s offer would leave non-tendering shareholders owning stock in a company “handicapped by unlawful corporate governance restrictions, onerous debt provisions, and potentially … subject to massive money damages claims payable to Dish – an entity which has everything to gain from a failure of Clearwire.”
The lawsuit also names Clearwire as a defendant.
Last week, Clearwire’s board urged shareholders to accept the Dish tender offer, which values Clearwire at $4.40 per share. Sprint has offered $3.40 per share for the Clearwire stock it does not own.
Dish spokesman Bob Toevs said: “We are reviewing the complaint and considering our options.”
Clearwire spokeswoman Susan Johnston said that company does not discuss pending litigation.