Sprint To Buy Remaining Clearwire Stock for $2.2 Billion
Sprint announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy all of the remaining stock in Clearwire for $2.2 billion, or roughly $2.97 per share. The carrier already owned 51.7 percent of Clearwire; this deal, if approved, would give Sprint complete control over Clearwire's spectrum.
The buyout could pay dividends—metaphorically speaking—in the long run for Sprint, giving the nation's third-largest mobile network the backbone necessary to ramp up its LTE deployment—and possibly use Clearwire's cutting-edge 20x20MHz LTE technology to create the nation's fastest 4G network in the process. Clearwire owns the rights to a big, big chunk of 2.5GHz wireless spectrum.
Clearwire's board of directors unanimously voted to approve the deal, which also entails Sprint acquiring Clearwire's debts and spectrum lease obligations. Sprint owner Softbank also gave the deal its blessing.
Things might not be that cut and dry, however. Reuters reports that a large number of minority Clearwire stakeholders consider the $2.97 offer a vast undervaluing of the company, despite it being a 128 percent premium over Clearwire's stock price on the day negotiations were entered. In fact, a company called Crest Financial holds 3 percent of the company and filed a lawsuit to put an end to the potential sale.
In order for the deal to close, both regulatory officials as well as a majority of the stockholders that aren't related to Sprint must approve the transaction. Sprint and Clearwire have announced that Comcast, Intel, and Bright House networks—which collectively own around 13 percent of Clearwire—have promised to vote their shares in favor of the deal, however.
If everything goes as planned, the buyout should finalize in the middle of next year.