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Sprint’s Takeover of Clearwire Gets Approval From Egan-Jones

Sprint Nextel Corp.’s bid for Clearwire Corp., slated for an investor vote on May 21, won the endorsement of Egan-Jones Ratings Co., which joined Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. in supporting the deal.

“Based on our review of publicly available information on strategic, corporate governance and financial aspects of the proposed transaction, Egan-Jones views the proposed transaction to be a desirable approach,” the Haverford, Pennsylvania-based shareholder-advisory firm said today in a report.

The endorsement lends fresh support to the deal following ISS’s stamp of approval last week. The two firms disagreed with another proxy adviser, Glass, Lewis & Co., which recommended that investors vote no on Sprint’s $2.97-a-share offer. Sprint, which already owns slightly more than 50 percent of Clearwire, is trying to acquire the remaining stake for $2.2 billion.

“These recommendations affirm the conclusion of a rigorous multiyear strategic review and reinforce the board’s unanimous belief that this combination is the best strategic alternative for Clearwire’s minority stockholders, delivering certain, fair and attractive value,” Bellevue, Washington-based Clearwire said today in an e-mailed statement.

Sprint and Clearwire reached the deal in December after their four-year joint venture struggled to build a nationwide wireless Internet provider. Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas, is now planning to use Clearwire’s spectrum to bolster its own network.

Glass Lewis said that Sprint hasn’t made a compelling case for why its offer is the best option.

Clearwire shares fell 2.8 percent to $3.16 in New York. The stock has advanced 9.3 percent this year.

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