Clearwire Investor Offers $240 Million to Avert Sprint

Clearwire Corp. investor Crest Financial Ltd. offered to provide the wireless Internet company with $240 million in financing as an alternative to taking money from potential acquirer Sprint Nextel Corp.

The convertible debt offer, announced today in a statement, comes less than a week after Clearwire drew $80 million in financing from Sprint for a second straight month. The financing from Sprint, which already owns just over 50 percent of the Bellevue, Washington-based company, can be converted to Clearwire stock at $1.50 a share.

Crest is one of the minority shareholders that has opposed Sprint’s proposal to acquire the rest of Clearwire for $2.97 a share. Crest has said it supports the sale of Clearwire’s wireless airwaves to other parties, such as Dish Network Corp.

The terms of Crest’s convertible debt are better than Sprint’s and are “designed to free Clearwire to explore alternatives to Sprint’s inadequate merger offer,” the investor said in the statement. Crest’s proposed notes could be converted to Clearwire stock at $2 a share.

“We have received the proposal from Crest Financial,” said Mike DiGioia, a Clearwire spokesman. “Our special committee of the board will evaluate the offer to determine what, if any, action to take.”

Clearwire rose less than 1 percent to $3.28 at the close in New York. Scott Sloat, a Sprint spokesman, declined to comment.