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UPDATE 3-Sprint Nextel assumes majority stake in Clearwire
2012年10月18日 / 上午11点06分 / 5 年前

UPDATE 3-Sprint Nextel assumes majority stake in Clearwire

* Deal reached Wednesday with Eagle River
    * Sprint to pay $100 million for McCaw's interests
    * Analyst says removes control risk
    * Clearwire shares sink in early trading

    Oct 18 (Reuters) - Wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp 
has acquired a majority interest in Clearwire Corp by
buying a stake from the company's founder, after a dispute with
other investors scuttled a similar attempt to take control last
    Clearwire shares fell more than 6 percent in early trading,
as the new arrangement appears to have dashed hopes that Sprint
would buy the company outright.
    Sprint reached the deal with Eagle River Holdings on
Wednesday and now controls a 50.8 percent stake in Clearwire, it
said in a securities filing on Thursday. Eagle River is the
investment vehicle of Clearwire founder and wireless industry
veteran, Craig McCaw.
    The Clearwire deal comes less than a week after Sprint
agreed to sell 70 percent of itself to Japan's Softbank Corp
 in a $20 billion transaction.
    Analysts and investors widely expected Sprint to
subsequently acquire, or at least assume control of, Clearwire,
in which it already held a nearly 50 percent stake.
    Clearwire's spectrum is crucial to planned high-speed
upgrades to Sprint's network, and its planned technology
platform is similar to one already adopted by Softbank.
    FBR Capital Markets, in a note to clients on Thursday, said
the deal eliminated a major risk for Sprint, which can now
control Clearwire's valuable spectrum assets and have unfettered
access to them.
    Yet the deal could actually make Sprint's financial picture
look worse, one analyst said, if Sprint has to consolidate
Clearwire's results and debt onto its own balance sheet. Whether
it will have to do so is still not clear. 
    " While we believe Clearwire shares could be volatile today
... there remain many important (and unanswered) questions in
our view," Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said in a
client note.
    For purposes of the deal, Sprint paid the equivalent of $2
per Class A share for Eagle River's 30.9 million shares. Sprint
also purchased fractional interests in some Class B shares,
which added to the price. 
    In total, Sprint said it would pay $100 million for the
acquisition, all from working capital.
    Sprint also disclosed that Eagle River had sent notice on
Oct. 13 that it wanted to sell, but that other Clearwire
shareholders, including Intel Corp and Comcast Corp
, objected to the form of the sale offer. 
    Sprint said it and Clearwire "disagree with the merits of
the objection and allegation" but that in the interests of
avoiding a dispute had withdrawn that earlier proposal in favor
of the new one made Wednesday. 
    Representatives of Intel and Comcast were unavailable for
comment Thursday morning on the nature of those companies'
objections. The two collectively hold about 16 percent of
Clearwire's Class A stock, according to Thomson Reuters data.
    Clearwire shares fell 6.7 percent to $2.11 in morning
trading. The stock was trading at $1.30 before news of the
Sprint-Softbank deal broke last week.

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