Clearwire Board Flip-Flops for Dish Over Sprint

Clearwire's board of directors has unanimously recommended that stockholders approve Dish Network's revised acquisition bid of $4.40 per share over majority owner Sprint Nextel Corp.'s, which came in lower at $3.40 per share. The two competing offers were under review by a special committee of independent, non-Sprint-affiliated directors, which came to the conclusion that Dish's offer bested Sprint's with a 29 percent premium. The company has delayed the vote until June 24. (See Dish Beats Sprint Bid for Clearwire.) Sprint responded to the recommendation, noting in a statement that it is evaluating Clearwire's Board and will review any corresponding filings before determining its next steps. "Sprint continues to have every intention of enforcing its governance rights. All commercial agreements, including network and customer agreements, will be honored and enforced as it regards our ongoing relationship with Clearwire." Why this matters
Much like the game Sprint is playing with Dish and Softbank Corp., Clearwire's board recommendation now puts Sprint in the position of having to sweeten its offer if it wants to stay in the game. Sprint owns more than half of the wholesaler but would have to become a co-owner with Dish if it loses out. This dynamic could be complicated by the fact that Dish is looking increasingly likely to lose to Softbank in its bid to acquire Sprint. (See Sprint Gives Dish One More Shot.) The recommendation likely took Sprint by surprise, as it's a reversal of the board's previous recommendations. Sprint's also been introducing tri-band LTE devices that use Clearwire's band in anticipation of snatching up Clearwire. It needs the company's valuable spectrum to bolster its growing LTE network. (See Could Sprint have a Clearwire Takeover in the Bag?) Clearwire needs one of the two offers to go through, as it doesn't have enough cash on-hand to continue operating much longer. For more — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 6/13/2013 | 9:18:24 PM
re: Clearwire Board Flip-Flops for Dish Over Sprint Trying to show off the potential for a Dish/Clearwire tie up, Dish said today it completed its test of an LTE fixed wireless deployment with NTelos, delivering speeds of 20 to 50 Mbps in 2.5GHz BRS spectrum.
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