Dish Network Corp., Charlie Ergen’s satellite-TV company, made an unsolicited $25.5 billion offer for Sprint Nextel Corp. to challenge a bid by Japan’s Softbank Corp. for the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier.

Sprint investors would get $7 a share, consisting of $4.76 in cash and stock representing about 32 percent of the combined company, Englewood, Colorado-based Dish said today. That means the offer is $17.3 billion cash and $8.2 billion stock, and 13 percent more than Sprint’s April 12 closing price. Sprint rose as high as $7.24 in early U.S. trading.

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