Clearwire's $1.5B Top-Up Confirmed

Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) confirmed today that it is getting $1.564 billion in additional funding from most of its existing partners.

The WiMax provider has worked out a deal where the partners get newly issued shares priced at $7.33 each in exchange for the additional funding. Clearwire expects to get just over $1 billion of the funds within "five business days," and the full funding will be on hand by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is putting the most money in, with a $1.176 billion commitment. Other participants include Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) for $196 million, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) for $103 million, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) for $50 million, Eagle River for $20 million, and Bright House Networks for $19 million.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) isn't in on this latest round of funds for the Kirkland, Wash., operator. The search giant originally put up $500 million when the "new" Clearwire venture was created. (See Clearwire Won't Use Google's Dark Fiber.)

The news is generally viewed as a positive by anlysts. Michael Nelson over at Soleil Securities Group Inc. says in a note that the new cash infusion will it help "close the company's $3.4 billion cumulative funding gap by 2013." This doesn't mean that Clearwire can relax financially yet:

"We project Clearwire to burn $1.7 billion in free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) in 2009 and $2.2 billion in 2010," writes Nelson. "We forecast the company will not generate positive free cash flow until 2014 and positive EBITDA until 2013."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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