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Sprinting for the finish line

Dish co-founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen has compared his strategy to "Seinfeld" -- 28 minutes of scenes that don't make sense and the final two minutes where everything comes together. Here are some of those random scenes -- deals -- attempted by Dish, with some successful and others not so much.

Dish has offered Sprint shareholders $25.5 billion in cash and stock, putting itself into competition with Japan’s Softbank to take over the wireless carrier. In Ergen's "Seinfeld" analogy, Sprint is the final two minutes that ties everything together.

Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Marguerite Reardon/CNET
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Seeing clearly now

Dish in January made a $5.15 billion bid for Clearwire, which is majority-owned by Sprint. Sprint had announced plans in December to buy the stake of Clearwire that it doesn’t already own for $2.2 billion. But then Dish got involved the next month with its unsolicited bid.

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Checking out the Metro

Dish reportedly made a bid to acquire MetroPCS in August of last year for $4 billion. The talks fell apart later that month, and MetroPCS ultimately reached an agreement to merge with T-Mobile.

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First things first

Dish didn't just make overtures to MetroPCs but reportedly also informally approached Deutsche Telekom about a possible merger with T-Mobile. However, media reports said Deutsche Telekom didn’t want to consider the deal until the MetroPCS transaction closed.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Blockbuster rebirth?

2011 was a busy year for Dish, with the company spending more than $3 billion on bankrupt companies. Most recognizable is the $320 million purchase of video rental provider Blockbuster in April of that year.

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Spectrum spectrum everywhere

DBSD and TerreStar were a couple of other bankrupt companies purchased by Dish -- for $2.8 billion -- in 2011, largely in an attempt to gain spectrum. Both attempted to offer satellite and cellular phone services but failed in their efforts. Dish (when part of EchoStar) also participated in spectrum auctions held by the Federal Communications Commission.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Josh Long/CNET
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Hello, Hulu

Dish reportedly made a bid for the streaming-video provider in late 2011, but Hulu's owners ultimately decided not to sell the site.

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EchoStar established the Dish Network brand in 1995 to market its satellite TV service but spun Dish off in early 2008. While still combined, Echostar in late 2007 bought privately held Sling Media for $380 million. Sling Media makes a device that sends home television programming to laptops and mobile devices, and Dish has incorporated the technology into its newest digital video recorder systems. (CBS, which owns CNET, is in active litigation against Dish over its Hopper DVR.)

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A little healthy competition

Another company Dish has been linked to is fellow satellite-TV provider DirecTV. The two companies attempted to merge about a decade ago, but the deal failed after being deemed anticompetitive. Speculation about a renewed merger attempt between the two pops up from time to time.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Bob Levey/Getty Images
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