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Failed Sprint-T-Mobile Deal, Now DISH Enters The Picture?

August 12th, 2014

Patience may ultimately pay off for Charlie Ergen.

The chairman of Dish Network has long chronicled his interest in joining his satellite television network with a U.S. wireless carrier, but so far those wireless carriers have been out of reach.

T-Mobile US Inc. was one attractive candidate, but Mr. Ergen has said he did not plan on engaging in a bidding war with Sprint Corp. And Mr. Ergen tried and failed to acquire Sprint itself last year, losing out to Softbank Corp.

Now that Sprint’s move to drop its bid for T-Mobile has come to a close, it looks like Mr. Ergen has the opening to make a move.

Wunderlich Securities analyst Matt Harrigan says Dish is now T-Mobile’s “default acquirer.” Mr. Harrigan also calls a buyout of T-Mobile by Dish “the golden child scenario” for both companies.

The satellite company owns a large chunk of America’s spectrum, and Mr. Ergen has outlined his vision for using that spectrum to offer Americans the ability to use high-speed wireless Internet to access mobile videos in their homes. Last year, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere admitted that he was intrigued by the vision Mr. Ergen has laid out.

“I think that T-Mobile is executing really well and then layer that on top of Dish Network’s spectrum, and these companies can cross-sell video, satellite and wireless,” said Mr. Harrigan in an interview. “There are huge cost synergies.”

A Dish spokesperson declined to comment on Sprint and T-Mobile, but said that Mr. Ergen expects to be asked about a possible deal on Dish’s conference call that kicks off at 12 p.m. New York time.

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