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Dish plans debt sale to fund Sprint offer

People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp said on Tuesday it will sell $2.5 billion in debt to help fund a $25 billion bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, and that it believes it has answered all questions posed by a special committee of Sprint's board.

Satellite TV service Dish said it has met with advisers to the Sprint special committee considering its offer, is "unaware of any items that remain outstanding," and is still waiting for Sprint's response.

Dish has said it would need to raise about $9 billion in debt to pay for its April offer to buy Sprint .

Japan's SoftBank Corp <9984.T> reached a $20.1 billion agreement to buy Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless service provider, in October.

Charlie Ergen, chairman and founder of Dish, vowed last week to make a firm financing commitment only when it was the last obstacle keeping him from getting access to Sprint's books.

Sprint representatives were not immediately available for comment on the Dish move.

Michael McCormack, an analyst at Nomura Securities, said Dish likely made the announcements "to show the seriousness of their interest."

"It doesn't mean that the Sprint special committee doesn't come back and ask for more information. But Dish is trying to say that they're fulfilling their side of the process." McCormack said.

The move to sell $2.5 billion in debt marked Dish's second debt sale in six weeks to fund acquisitions, but it was the first one that named Sprint as the potential destination for the proceeds. The last sale raised $2.3 billion, more than double what was planned.

Reuters reported last week that SoftBank, the telecommunications company, had asked banks not to finance Dish's unsolicited bid for the company.

Dish said if the Sprint deal does not take place by a certain date, its subsidiary in the latest debt offering would redeem all the notes.

Sprint shares were up 0.3 percent at $7.20 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Dish was down 0.6 percent at $38.60 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz and Sinead Carew; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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