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4G/3G/WiFi

Sprint Ups Bid for Clearwire to $2.2B

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has increased its offer by US$0.07 per share to buy the 49 percent of Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) that it doesn't already own, bringing the value of the deal to $2.2 billion. (See Sprint to Buy All of Clearwire for $2.2B.)

The companies announced on Monday that Sprint will pay $2.97 per share for the remaining 49 percent of Clearwire that it doesn't have. That's improved from the the $2.90 per share Sprint offered last Thursday (Dec. 13). (See Sprint Wants to Buy Clearwire Outright for $2.1B and Clearwire Response to Sprint Talks.)

The transaction would give Clearwire an enterprise value of about $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.

Along with the acquisition, the operators have agreed to provide up to $800 million of additional financing for Clearwire in the form of exchangeable notes. The funding is understood to be for enabling Clearwire to continue its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network deployment.

The deal is subject to the usual regulatory and shareholder approvals, but it also depends on Sprint's pending transaction with SoftBank Corp. Both the Clearwire and Softbank deals are expected to close in the middle of 2013. (See Softbank to Pay $20B for 70% Sprint Stake.)

Why this matters
If the acquisition is successful, Sprint will gain Clearwire's substantial 2.5GHz spectrum assets and complement Sprint's 1900MHz spectrum. With Clearwire in the fold, Sprint would get access to average holdings of 160MHz in the 2.5GHz-2.6GHz band in the top 100 U.S. markets For more


— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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