Clearwire Board Reviews Unsolicited Offer for Airwave LicensesScott Moritz
Clearwire Corp.’s board is reviewing an unsolicited offer to acquire its licenses to provide wireless Internet access, presenting a new wrinkle as shareholders consider a takeover offer from Sprint Nextel Corp.
Clearwire received the proposal for its airwave permits in large markets on April 8 from an unnamed “strategic buyer,” it said yesterday in a regulatory filing. The party offered $1 billion to $1.5 billion, minus the present value of the leases, “which could be substantial,” Clearwire said.
Sprint, which owns a slight majority of Bellevue, Washington-based Clearwire’s shares, is seeking to gain those same airwave licenses by buying out other investors for $2.97 a share. Dish Network Corp. has presented a competing bid for $3.30 a share.
“This might provide some competition for Dish,” said Walt Piecyk, an analyst at BTIG LLC in New York. Bob Toevs, a Dish spokesman, declined to comment.
The offer would value Clearwire’s airwaves at 20 cents to 30 cents per megahertz of capacity for each person covered, compared with 21 cents for Sprint’s proposal, Piecyk said.
Clearwire jumped as much as 4.3 percent to $3.40 in extended trading. The shares closed yesterday at $3.26 before the filing was released.
The board is also considering whether or not to make a June 1 interest payment, Clearwire said. The company said it told two parties that had offered this month to lend money, Crest Financial Ltd. and Aurelius Capital Management LP, that it wasn’t prepared to accept their proposals.