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Retiring CEO Otellini steps up to bat for his partner

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) finds itself in an unusual position.  The struggling third place carrier suddenly finds itself with not just one, but two large, highly attractive suitors vying for partial ownership in it.  Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) struck first with a $20B USD bid last October.  Then came satellite TV superpower Dish Network Corp.'s (DISH)  $25.2B bid earlier this month.

Who should Sprint choose?  Shareholders are meeting June 12 to vote whether to finalize the Softbank deal; Softbank has graciously relaxed some terms of its deal to allow Sprint to seek information on the DISH bid.  But one of Sprint's top partners is already speaking out about who they want to see win the day -- and they're backing Softbank.

Intel Corp.'s (INTC) almost-retired chief executive Paul Otellini wrote a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission backing Softbank's bid over DISH's.  Addressing retiring FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, he says that he recently traveled to Japan to meet with Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son who painted a "very compelling" vision of transforming Sprint into a high-speed LTE superpower.

He writes:
 
I simply wanted to add my name to the list of companies hoping that Softbank will be able to acquire Sprint, rather than Dish. Son-san’s vision to build a high speed competitive third national network is very compelling. We need this competition in the wireless space as the ATT/Verizon model is not giving that to consumers at this time. I just wanted you to know where I and Intel stand on this important matter.

According to Reuters, Intel is a key business partner of Softbank's.  While Intel also does a chunk of business with DISH, it appears to be firmly in Softbank's camp for this campaign.

Sources: FCC, Reuters





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