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Intel Backs SoftBank Offer for Sprint Over Dish

Dish's proposal for Sprint may put the company "in play" for merger or partnership attempts given the ambition and financing attached to its proposal, according to Walter Piecyk, telecom analyst at BTIG.

"Charlie Ergen's latest move not only puts Sprint in play but it might have done the same for Dish," Piecyk wrote in a Friday note to clients.

Piecyk highlighted that some partners could be attracted to a deal because of the amount of debt attached to Dish's proposal, while others may want to put cash up to support Ergen's efforts at building the nation's first bundle of unlimited broadband, data and video service.

Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Google (GOOG), NTT Docomo (DCM), DirecTV (DTV) and AT&T (T) are among the potential suitors cited by Piecyk in his analysis.

Piecyk, the BTIG analyst, noted that some in the wireless industry may want Dish's highly leveraged proposal for Sprint to win out over SoftBank's offer because it could return the carrier to a position of financial distress.

"The wireless industry might prefer Ergen to win over Softbank because Ergen's resulting debt leverage would hamper his ability to invest the necessary capital to be competitive," Piecyk wrote.

Still, given Ergen's streak for innovation and disruption of seemingly high-barrier industries, there are some who would want to support his ambition. Piecyk noted the wireless spectrum Dish brings to a potential deal, in addition to a new nationwide content service that could bolster the growth of streaming services such as Netflix (NFLX) and HBO Go.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York.

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