Break out the popcorn, folks, it's time for some corporate drama. As we reported last month, LTE service provider Clearwire is looking to sell itself, with 50% stake holder Sprint Nextel the obvious choice. But while Sprint's $2.2 billion offer (plus another $800 million in staggered investments) sits on the desks of both Clearwire shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission for approval, satellite TV provider Dish Network has made another offer. They're putting $2.4 billion on the table, about $3.30 per share, and an 11% increase over Sprint's initial offering.
For the uninitiated, Dish has been gobbling up the rights to as much LTE spectrum as it can get, though its plans for leveraging those rights isn't immediately clear. Sprint's motivation is obvious: they want as much spectrum as they can to extend their currently LTE offerings far and wide, in an attempt to catch up to the much larger 4G LTE networks of Verizon and AT&T. For both parties, Clearwire's considerable chunk of wireless spectrum is worth far more than the company's infrastructure or wireless internet customers.
Unsurprisingly, Sprint wasn't too happy with the offer.
Sprint believes its agreement to acquire Clearwire, which offers Clearwire shareholders certain and attractive value, is superior to the highly conditional DISH proposal.
(I'll point out that Sprint's offering used the word "conditions" four times in a 100-word statement on the proposed buyout.)
Assuming that both deals are acceptable to the FTC, which will almost certainly be the case, it's up to Clearwire's remaining shareholders to make the final decision. Dish has been acquiring spectrum for years, though whether it wants to create a competitor to the big four American carriers or offer lucrative partnerships with them hasn't been nailed down just yet. Clearwire's stock price jumped by $.02, a little less than one percent, on the news.
Source: New York Times