[Follow-Up] Sprint Offers $2.1 Billion to Buyout Clearwire


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Dec 30, 2010
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Here's a follow-up story to one we reported yesterday. Industry intel yesterday suggested that Sprint was looking to buy out the rest of the shares in Clearwire. That info turned out to be true, and the deal went public this morning. Apparently, Sprint has offered Clearwire $2.1 Billion USD for a complete buyout. Sprint's primary purpose in the buyout is to be able to take full control of Clearwire's spectrum. Considering Sprint already owns 51% of Clearwire, if they take this deal, it would put the total value of the company at around $4.2 Billion. This deal is far from a forgone conclusion however. Besides having to jump through regulatory hurdles, Sprint will also have to contend with some of the larger current Clearwire stock owners who will likely want to hold out for a sweeter deal. Here's a quote with some more info,

Cash-strapped Clearwire, which also counts Sprint as its biggest customer, has long been seen by analysts as an acquisition target for Sprint.

The company, which has been looking to raise more financing to upgrade its network and to keep the business afloat, has said that it could run out of money in the third quarter of 2013.

A planned purchase of 70 percent of Sprint by Japanese mobile firm Softbank (9984.T), with an associated capital infusion, would help Sprint finance a Clearwire buyout.

But some minority Clearwire shareholders -- including No. 2 shareholder Mount Kellet Capital Management LP and No. 4 Crest Financial Limited -- have expressed concerns over a deal with Sprint, suggesting that Clearwire should look at other options.

Between them, the two investment firms own nearly 15 percent of Clearwire's publicly traded shares and Sprint needs the approval of minority shareholders to proceed.

Crest and Mount Kellet did not immediately comment after the announcement.

On Tuesday, Crest Financial filed a lawsuit against the company and Sprint to try to thwart a deal.

Clearwire's other minority shareholders include Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) who own around 12.4 percent between them. Sprint has been in discussions with those companies about purchasing their shares, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sprint, which is also Clearwire's biggest wholesale customer, had a 51.7 percent stake in Clearwire as of December 11.

The offer also needs the approval of Japanese mobile company Softbank Corp (9984.T) and is contingent on the planned sale of 70 percent of Sprint to Softbank, Sprint said in the regulatory filing.

What do you guys think of this deal? Do you think it will be good for the industry?

Source: Reuters