Clearwire's Closing Approaches
In an email to employees of Clearwire and the XOHM division of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Wolff said his company will hold a shareholders' vote in mid-November. The deal would likely close soon afterward.
"According to the docs, it closes on the 1st of the following month," ThinkEquity LLC analyst Eric Kainer writes in an email to Unstrung. "12/1 or 1/1 [are the] most likely dates, in that order."
For months, Clearwire has maintained that the deal would close by the end of the year. (See Clearwire: We're Still on Track and CTIA: Clearwire Talks Android & More.)
Sprint has been vocal about it, too. At WiMax World at the end of September, Sprint VP Atish Gude said the new Clearwire was “'round the corner,” while CEO Dan Hesse, speaking at Sprint's XOHM launch earlier this month, said he remained confident the deal would close by year’s end. (See Hesse: Cellular 'Relatively Immune' to Downturn and Chicago WiMax Is 'Imminent'.)
Wolff's letter was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday, in documents available here.
The “new” Clearwire deal would give the Kirkland, Wash.-based operator Sprint’s 2.5GHz spectrum and WiMax assets along with a $3.2 billion cash infusion from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and the cablecos. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant.) This cash is needed by Clearwire if it is to make good on its rollout plans. (See Clearwire Has Cash for 'at Least' 12 Months .)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remains a possible stumbling block. In July AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) argued that if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were to include Sprint and Clearwire's non-operational spectrum, then the proposed merger would be subject to more scrutiny, and therefore, the initial application should be denied. The FCC is expected to announce a final decision on approval soon. (See AT&T Looks to Block Sprint/Clearwire Merger.)
“With respect to approval of the transaction by the FCC, you may have seen Chairman Martin’s recent comments in which he indicated that approving our transaction was one of his top priorities, and that he expected the approval to occur before year end, although we are making every effort in the hope of having the FCC act well before then,” writes Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff in the email to shareholders. “As a result, I continue to be confident that the transaction will close before the end of the year.”
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung