Mergers & acquisitions

TW Cable to Dump Clearwire Stake

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) plans to sell its 7.8 percent stake in erstwhile wireless partner Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) less than a month after the MSO and three other cable operators received government approval to sell their advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to their new mobile pal, Verizon Wireless . (See Cable OK to Attack FiOS With Verizon Wireless, Wait for It! Verizon 4G Deal Still Needs FCC OK and FCC OKs Verizon's Spectrum Buys.)

TW Cable notified other Clearwire investors of its intentions to sell its stake in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, Sept. 14. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) remains Clearwire's largest shareholder.

TW Cable paid $550 million for the stake in 2008, but its 46.4 million shares are worth about $73.3 million today, according to the The Wall Street Journal. Clearwire's other cable investors have not announced plans to sell their respective stakes. Comcast paid $1.05 billion for its piece and still owns 88 million shares, while Bright House chipped in $100 million for its stake. (See Cable Plays Clearwire Card.)

Comcast and TW Cable have already wound down their wholesale partnership with Clearwire. Bright House never launched a service with Clearwire. Comcast, TW Cable to Halt Clearwire Sales.)

If Comcast and Bright House follow suit and try to sell their stakes, count DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) among the companies that will be pleased to see it happen. In July, the satellite giant asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require Clearwire's cable partners to shed their stakes in the mobile broadband provider as a condition of their spectrum sale to Verizon Wireless. DirecTV didn't express an outright interest in buying into Clearwire but reasoned that cable's continued minority ownership in the company would "enable them to hamper further development of Clearwire's competing network and services." (See DirecTV Wants Cable to Dump Clearwire Stakes .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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