DISH offers $25.5 bn for Sprint Nextel

US satellite-television provider DISH Network launched a $25.5 billion takeover offer Monday for Sprint Nextel, topping the $20 billion bid from Japan's SoftBank.

DISH said in a statement it was offering to buy the third-largest US wireless carrier for $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock.

"The DISH proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal," said Charlie Ergen, chairman of DISH Network, in a statement.

"Sprint shareholders will benefit from a higher price with more cash while also creating the opportunity to participate more meaningfully in a combined DISH/Sprint with a significantly-enhanced strategic position and substantial synergies that are not attainable through the pending SoftBank proposal."

Ergen said the merger would create a unique company capable of offering a fully integrated, nationwide bundle of in- and out-of-home video, broadband and voice services.

"Additionally, the combined national footprints and scale will allow DISH/Sprint to bring improved broadband services to millions of homes with inferior or no access," he said.

DISH estimated the new company would have "synergies and growth opportunities" of $37 billion as well as $11 billion in cost savings.

Sprint shares surged 15.8 percent in opening New York trade, while DISH shares dropped 1.5 percent.

The DISH bid challenges SoftBank's October bid to acquire 70 percent of Sprint, the number-three US carrier behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T, for $20 billion and recapitalize it.

US regulators, seeking to insure the Softbank merger does not pose problems for national security, have yet to give it a green light.

In January DISH also made a bid for Clearwire Corp, topping Sprint Nextel's offer for the wireless broadband firm's shares by 11 percent. Clearwire shareholders are expected to vote soon on the bids.