Dish Stuns with Bid for Sprint Merger

On Monday, major potential merger news rocked the global wireless industry.

According to published reports this morning, Dish – a leading U.S. satellite television provider – confirmed a $25.5 billion bid for Sprint Nextel.

If successful, Dish will have secured the carrier away from the anticipated  grasp of Japanese communications firm Softbank, which had been interested in a $20.1 billion investment in return for a 70% stake in Sprint.

It was also the boldest step yet by Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen, who has bought billions of dollars worth of wireless spectrum in the last few years and has been seeking some sort of deal to make use of the airwaves.

“This is the culmination of a lot of years of work. Whether it be the purchase of spectrum, entering auctions, the acquisition of Sling Media, all those things come together now with the merger with Sprint,” Ergen told reporters today.

Reuters is reporting that a growing number of analysts now believe that the Dish offer could lead to a “bidding war” with SoftBank.