Proxy firms divided on Clearwire-Sprint deal

Fri May 10, 2013 5:40pm EDT
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By Sinead Carew

(Reuters) - The biggest U.S. proxy advisory firms on Friday issued conflicting opinions on Sprint Nextel Corp's (S.N: Quote) proposed takeover of Clearwire Corp CLWR.O, with ISS advising Clearwire shareholders to vote in favor of the deal and Glass Lewis urging them to vote against it.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, already owns just over 50 percent of Clearwire's shares and has agreed to pay $2.97 per share for the rest.

Clearwire shareholders are due to vote on the hotly contested deal at a special meeting on May 21. For the deal to succeed, a majority of Clearwire's minority investors must approve it.

ISS, the biggest U.S. proxy advisory firm, said Clearwire lacked any better options to keep the wireless service provider afloat.

Glass Lewis, the No. 2 U.S. proxy firm, said Sprint had failed to provide a clear, compelling case to suggest that its offer is the best alternative available to Clearwire.

Clearwire shares closed down 2 cents at $3.25 on Nasdaq. Sprint shares rose a penny to $7.36 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Clearwire said on Friday it continued to recommend the Sprint deal and that Glass Lewis "reached the wrong conclusion" and "failed to recognize the comprehensive process" that led Clearwire to agree to the Sprint transaction.

Sprint said it was pleased with the ISS recommendation.   Continued...

People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly