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Sprint/SoftBank asks FCC to go ahead with deal review

A Softbank Corp's employee stands in front of its branch in Tokyo April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
A Softbank Corp's employee stands in front of its branch in Tokyo April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp and SoftBank Corp <9984.T> asked regulators on Friday to go ahead with a review of their proposed $20.1 billion deal after Sprint's rival suitor, Dish Network Corp , asked for a suspension of the review.

Satellite TV provider Dish asked the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to suspend its review of Japanese operator SoftBank's proposed purchase of 70 percent of Sprint after Dish announced an unsolicited $25.5 billion counter bid on Monday.

But Sprint, which has said its board will evaluate the Dish offer, told the FCC on Friday it was opposed to Dish's request to delay the review of the SoftBank agreement announced in October 2012.

"The Commission must not be distracted by Dish's latest maneuverings," Sprint said in a document addressed to the FCC.

Sprint said the FCC review would "in no way limit Dish's ability to make competing bids for Sprint, nor does it prejudice in any way Dish's ability to challenge SoftBank's valuation of Sprint."

Sprint said the FCC, which typically takes about 180 days to review deals, was already 140 days into its review. Sprint declined to comment beyond the filing.

Dish did not have an immediate comment on the filing. Dish had asked the FCC on Thursday to withhold its ruling on the merger until Sprint's board responds to its offer.

Dish also argued that its bid would be better for U.S. national security reasons because Sprint would not come under foreign ownership.

Sprint shares were down 3 cents at $7.16 on New York Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon. Dish shares were up 52 cents or 1.6 percent at $38.97 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Alina Selyukh in Washington. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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