Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is apparently taking DISH Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) $25.5 billion buyout proposal seriously.

The wireless carrier's board of directors has formed a "special committee" of independent directors to evaluate DISH's unsolicited bid, the company announced today.

The committee will review DISH's bid with financial and legal advisors to determine whether it will be a superior offer to the one previously proposed by Japanese telecom SoftBank. The merger offer from DISH is equal to $4.76 cash per share -- which it labels as an 18% premium over the implied $4.03-per-share offer of Softbank for 70% of Sprint -- and 0.05953 DISH shares for each outstanding share of Sprint stock.

DISH's bid for Sprint came last week in a surprise announcement by the company and its chairman, Charlie Ergen. DISH had been attempting to purchase Sprint's longtime network provider Clearwire with a counteroffer to Sprint's own proposal.

Sprint did not indicate when its special committee's determination would be made. The special committee consists of Larry C. Glasscock, James H. Hance, Jr., V. Janet Hill, William R. Nuti, and Rodney O'Neal. Glasscock will serve as Chairman of the special committee.

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