Dish to Raise $2.3B For Possible Spectrum Purchases

Amount is Double What Satellite Giant Originally Planned

Dish Network said Wednesday that it will raise about $2.3 billion in debt that could be used for wireless spectrum purchases.

 In a statement the satellite giant said it had priced $1.1 billion in 5.125% senior notes due 2020 and another $1.2  billion in 4.25% senior notes due in 2018. Proceeds would be used for general corporate purposes, "which may include wireless and spectrum-related transactions," Dish said in a statement. The offering is expected to close on April 5.

The amount is more than double the $1 billion Dish said it hoped to raise on April 2, and the higher amount indicates that demand was strong for the debt.

The news sent Dish’s stock down by about 2% (82 cents) to $37.25 per share in early trading Wednesday.

Dish has been an aggressive buyer of wireless spectrum in the past – it has spent more than $3 billion on wireless licenses and in January made an unsolicited offer for WiMax spectrum from Clearwire.  Clearwire, which already had an earlier deal to be acquired by its 50% owner Sprint, is apparently still evaluating the Dish proposal but most analysts believe it will stick with its telco partner. In March, Clearwire sold about $80 million in notes to Sprint, part of an earlier agreement. Dish had said earlier that it would withdraw its offer if the WiMax pioneer drew funds from the Sprint financing agreements.