Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), the second- largest U.S. cable company, plans to sell its 46.4 million shares of Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), the money-losing venture to build a high-speed wireless Internet network across the U.S.
Time Warner Cable, based in New York, has alerted other Clearwire investors, including Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and Intel Corp., of its intention to sell the holdings, according to a filing last week.
Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), the largest U.S. cable company, agreed in December to market and sell Verizon Wireless service to customers. The deal allows the cable companies to combine wireless service with their current offerings of television, land-line phone and broadband Internet.
“It seems like an opportune time to start to sell the shares in light of the company’s arrangements with Verizon Wireless,” Justin Venech, a Time Warner Cable spokesman, said in an e-mail.
Mike DiGioia, a spokesman for Bellevue, Washington-based Clearwire, declined to comment. The U.S. Justice Department approved the Verizon deal last month.
Time Warner Cable agreed in 2008 to acquire a stake in Clearwire to help fund a so-called WiMax network to offer 4G, or fourth-generation, wireless service. The joint venture with Sprint has struggled to gain subscribers to its national wireless service, prompting Comcast and Time Warner Cable to switch their allegiance to Verizon Wireless, which is already operating a 4G network using long-term evolution technology.
Clearwire fell 4.9 percent to $1.54 at the close in New York. The shares have fallen 21 percent this year.
Time Warner Cable spent $550 million for its Clearwire stake in 2008. The shares are worth $71.5 million at today’s close.
Comcast still owns its 88.5 million shares in Clearwire, said John Demming, a spokesman for the cable company.
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