Sprint is now raising its offer to buy a remaining 50% stake in Clearwire it doesn't own by 14%, succumbing to some Clearwire shareholder resistance to it's previous $2.97 a share offer. Sprint is interested in Clearwire for its 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, which the telecom expects will bolster its national wireless service.
Clearwire's assets will also complement Sprint's "Network Vision" wireless service upgrade, as the carrier migrates its network to 4G LTE standards.
Clearwire's hedge fund shareholders previously objected to the price of Sprint's earlier $2.97 a share offer. With an increased price, Sprint is now confident it can complete the deal and move on to even larger consolidation efforts.Clearwire shares opened Monday trading above Sprint's $3.40 a share revised offer, indicating some expected the fledgling wireless provider's price. "The revised offer demonstrates Sprint's commitment to closing the Clearwire transaction and improving its competitive position in the U.S. wireless industry," Sprint said in a press release. Comcast (CMCSA), Intel (INTC) and Bright House Networks, which together own 26% of Clearwire's remaining shares, support Sprint's revised offer, the company said in its statement. Sprint's interest in Clearwire underscores a fast-consolidating wireless industry that likely will have the nation's third leading wireless provider finding a partner of its own by year-end. In fact, Sprint is competing with satellite TV giant Dish Networks (DISH) for Clearwire. Dish, consequently, is competing against Japanese telecom SoftBank to take control of Sprint, in merger efforts that exceed $20 billion. Earlier in May, SoftBank allowed Sprint to conduct formal negotiations with Dish Network. Sprint, which accepted a merger with SoftBank in October, however, it has yet to fully comment on the competing transactions. The fight for Clearwire and Sprint highlight the fast shifting landscape of the U.S. wireless industry, as carriers look to add capacity to their networks through spectrum acquisitions and scale their user base and product offerings through mergers. Those merger and acquisition efforts extend far beyond Sprint and Clearwire.
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