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Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

Dish Network Corp. is offering $2.2 billion for a slice of Clearwire's spectrum as it tries to outbid Sprint Nextel Inc. and nab a 25 percent-or-greater stake in Clearwire.

Dish has made the unsolicited bid of $3.30 a share for the outstanding shares in Clearwire on Tuesday evening. In December, Sprint made a bid of $2.97 to get control of the 49 percent of the company that it doesn't already own. The Dish bid comes with a number of conditions:

  • Dish must get 25 percent or more or the outstanding shares as part of the transaction
  • Dish gets to nominate board members
  • Dish will pay $2.2 billion for about 24 percent of Clearwire's spectrum in the U.S.
  • Clearwire would work with Dish to build and run a commercial network
  • Dish wants Clearwire to terminate its financing agreement with Sprint
Clearwire said in a statement that a special committee on its board "has determined that its fiduciary duties require it to engage with Dish" to discuss the offer, but that it hasn't so far changed its recommendation of the current Sprint transaction. The statement reveals that Dish had already approached Clearwire with a spectrum offer before the Sprint bid. Clearwire has revoked its initial draw on the Sprint financing because of the decision to examine the Dish bid, and so has not received the first $80 million under the agreement. Clearwire also says that it has received a letter from its 4G partner, Sprint, describing the Dish proposal as "illusory" and "inferior" to the Sprint bid. Sprint also stated that the Sprint agreement would prohibit Clearwire from entering into agreements for much of the Dish proposal. Clearwire said it has given no timetable for the resolution of the matter of the dueling bids and will not comment further about the proposed deals. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 5:13:47 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
-áWCS could make some sense for a home broadband service but AT&T seems intent on locking that down.
User Rank: Blogger
1/11/2013 | 2:37:22 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
Good guesses all around. I'm actually going to bet that there's method to Charlie's madness. Despite how this Clearwire fiasco may turn out, I think Dish recognizes that the long-term viability of satellite TV is in jeopardy and they need a wireless broadband component to complement it in the near term and maybe even supplant it in the long term.-á
I don't know what the best spectrum would be to serve their video purposes but perhaps they're trying to do some horse trading to find the right fit.-á
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 3:13:12 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
I still think that the notion that Dish would build a wireless service on its own was a huge bluff, no matter how the FCC rules surrounding his AWS spectrum shook out.-á But they did put on a good show.-áI'm not sure what his ultimate end-game is, but it's quite clear that Dish and Ergen know they have to reinvent the company now that their video biz is slowing down.-á Their Blockbuster buy hasn't really moved the needle from what I can tell.-á They may have come to the realization that they can't change and grow on their own... though this little Clearwire stunt-áisn't exactly the way to get friendlier with Sprint, if a partnership is its goal.-á But that's Charlie...he'll smack you with one hand and try to shake hands with the other.-áJB
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 2:23:05 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
I suspect Dish is looking to get more spectrum since the FCC put restrictions on how much of their spectrum they can use terrestrially. And it's not surprising that they're looking for someone to help them build their network. Seems like that's a chunk of business Sprint would like to see Clearwire get in any case.
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 1:40:28 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
-áI'm honestly not quite sure. Spectrum grab would be most logical to me.
User Rank: Blogger
1/9/2013 | 6:22:35 PM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
So what's Charlie's end game here? Is Dish serious about starting a wireless service, perhaps as a complementary service or even an eventual replacement for satellite TV service? Or is this just a chess game to make money off of spectrum?

What's going on inside Charlie's head? Oh sorry, nobody has the answer to that last question!
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/9/2013 | 1:25:55 AM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
Ergen is so cheap. -á1) No one would break a deal over 25 cents. -á 2) His intention is to canibalize clearwire and that is not what is Sprint planning on doing with Clearwire. -áThis is the same thing he tried to do with Sirius. He wanted to trip the company into bankruptcy and get the-ásatellites. -áI recall he-álost so badly to Malone,-áErgen got a couple of hundered million and Malone got half of Sirius XM just for a bridge loan to pay off Ergen.
User Rank: Light Beer
1/9/2013 | 12:01:33 AM
re: Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire
This is another, er, interesting move by Dish. They can't get a controlling stake in CLWR because Sprint already has it. Wonder if its a way to get more spectrum at a reasonable price?
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