SoftBank allows Sprint Nextel to conduct talks with Dish

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Sprint Nextel says SoftBank is allowing it to seek more information from Dish Network related to its rival bid for the third-largest U.S. cellphone company.

Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint has agreed to sell 70 percent of itself to Japan's Softbank Corp. for $20.1 billion. However, last week, Sprint got a competing $25.5 billion offer from Dish Network Corp. for the whole company.

Dish, an Englewood satellite television company, said that its transaction includes $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock.

Dish Network Corp. said that its offer is a 13 percent premium to the existing SoftBank proposal.

Under the agreement with SoftBank, Sprint can enter into a non-disclosure agreement and talks with Dish so it can clarify and obtain additional information from Dish related to its bid for the company.

Sprint isn't allowed to provide non-public information to Dish and can't enter into negotiations with the company.

SoftBank says it remains confident in its offer and expects the deal to close in July.