Sprint offers $2.1 billion to buy rest of Clearwire

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:33pm EST
 
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By Himank Sharma and Sinead Carew

(Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp, the majority owner of Clearwire Corp, has offered $2.1 billion to buy the rest of the wireless service provider but it may have to raise its offer to get enough shareholder backing to secure a deal.

Clearwire, which said it is reviewing the offer, saw its share jump almost 15 percent on Thursday, suggesting that shareholders hoped for a higher bid.

Sprint offered $2.90 per share and said it would also provide interim financing of $800 million to cash-strapped Clearwire if shareholders agree to the $2.90 offer.

Sprint, which already owns 50.45 percent of Clearwire, needs approval from holders of 24.8 percent of Clearwire shares before it could take control of the company.

One Clearwire shareholder Crest Financial, criticized Sprint's offer on Thursday saying in a public statement that the deal was not in the interests of Clearwire shareholders.

Crest said it "intends to take whatever actions it can, including petitioning the Federal Communications Commission, to protect the rights of Clearwire shareholders against unfair dealing by Sprint and other parties."

Several other shareholders also told Reuters on Thursday that they were not happy with Sprint's current terms for the deal as they believe the company is worth more.

"This deal should happen. It's good for Clearwire. It's good for Sprint. $2.90 is not the right price," said a representative for one shareholder who suggested that a per share offer in the $5 to $8 range would be more acceptable to investors.   Continued...

 
A woman uses her phone as she walks past a Sprint store in New York's financial district, October 15, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid