Well, it's still on, and set to break (for real this time) tomorrow morning, according to a report today in The Wall Street Journal, the same folks who spawned the original rumor back in late March.
According to our friends at Unstrung, the original deal was being held up due to some "internal politicking" between the partners and investors linked to the joint venture. (See Clearwire's Rumor Ride.)
Well, it appears that cooler heads have prevailed and the wallets have opened up. According to the paper, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) will kick in $1.05 billion. Among other cable partners, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is said to be putting in $550 million, with another $100 million coming in from Bright House Networks . Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is said to be good for $1 billion, with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) throwing $500 million to the pile.
WSJ also speculates that Sprint will merge its wireless broadband division with Clearwire. On top of that, Ben Wolfe is expected to retain the CEO slot, with Craig McCaw serving as chairman.
Given the on-again/off-again nature of this thing, we'll believe it when we see it. If anything, it will give us plenty to discuss at this month's Cable Show in the Big Easy, particularly after Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable confirmed their intention to bolt from the Sprint-cable "Pivot" joint venture. (See MSOs Pivoting Away From Sprint JV.)
Talk of Comcast's interest in wireless heated up again after the MSO confirmed late last month that Dave Williams, late of Telefónica O2 Europe, had joined the MSO as SVP of wireless technology strategy. (See Comcast's New Wireless SVP .)
Cox Communications Inc. , another Pivot'er that's not mentioned in the rumored WiMax partnership, is expected to build out its own mobile services network after winning some valuable spectrum in the 700 MHz auctions. (See The Great Cable Spectrum Speculation.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News