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Clearwire Investors Seek Higher Bid from Sprint after Dish Offer

Dish upped the ante with a $2.28B bid, compared with Sprint’s $2.2B proposal

Clearwire Corp. (Nasdaq: CLWR) investors are asking Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) to raise its bid after Dish Network Corp. (NYSE: DISH) placed a higher one for the mobile network provider.

Glenview Capital Management, which owns about 28 million Clearwire shares, or about two percent of the company, reportedly plans to vote against Sprint’s offer, and shareholder Taran Asset Management is expected to file a complaint with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Sprint currently owns about 51 percent of Clearwire. In December, mobile phone company Sprint offered $2.97 per share, or about $2.2 billion, plus assumption of debt and spectrum lease obligations, to buy the rest of the company. Sprint plans to use Clearwire’s spectrum to build out its network, hoping to strengthen its position in the U.S. wireless industry.

The boards of Sprint and Clearwire had approved the deal when it was announced in December.

But, on Jan. 8, Dish offered $3.30 per share, for a purchase price of about $2.28 billion. Dish would pay $2.2 billion for 24 percent of Clearwire’s spectrum assets, in addition to providing up to $800 million in financing.

Sprint asserts that its offer is superior, because it doesn’t contain the complex conditions that Dish’s offer contains, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 10.  

In October, Softbank Corp. (TSE: 9984) announced that it is buying 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion. Softbank approved Sprint’s Clearwire purchase, which wouldn’t be complete until the Softbank-Sprint deal closes.

The day of Softbank’s bid, Sprint opened at $5.58. Sprint was trading around $5.62 in midday trading on Jan. 18. 

 

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