Sprint gets OK from SoftBank to explore rival Dish offer

Sprint will now be able to enter into a non-disclosure agreement and discussions to clarify and obtain further information on the Dish offer.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse speaks at the Competitive Carriers Association trade show in New Orleans earlier this month. Maggie Reardon/CNET

Sprint Nextel has received approval from SoftBank to continue talking to Dish Network about its rival takeover offer, the carrier said Monday.

Sprint has already agreed upon a deal in which it would merge with SoftBank, a wireless carrier based in Japan. But Dish last week launched a sweetened $25.5 billion bid for Sprint.

The carrier said Monday that it had gotten a waiver from SoftBank to clarify and obtain additional information on the Dish proposal. Sprint is now able to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Dish, although it is not able to provide Dish with non-public information. It also does not allow Sprint to enter into negotiations with Dish.

Sprint said in a statement that it does intend to comment further on the work of the special committee assigned to look into the Dish offer.

The carrier could push for a heightened offer from SoftBank, although the Japanese company has said that it believes its current offer is superior on both a short and long-term basis . Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the companies are still on track for a July 1 merger.

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