Crest Now Favors Clearwire Deal After Sprint Raises Offer

Crest Financial Ltd., the Houston-based investment firm that opposed Sprint Nextel Corp.’s takeover of Clearwire Corp., has reversed course and will vote in favor of the deal, according to a filing today.

Crest, saying it’s now satisfied with the terms of the deal, is withdrawing “any statements made in the heat of battle.” David Schumacher, the investment company’s attorney, had called Sprint “oppressive” in a June 11 letter to Clearwire, where the company also said “Sprint has attempted to squeeze-out Clearwire’s minority stockholders on the cheap.”

Crest, one of Clearwire’s most vocal minority shareholders, is supporting the deal almost two weeks after Sprint raised its offer for Clearwire to $5 a share, 14 percent higher than a competing proposal from satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp. Clearwire’s board accepted the sweetened terms from Sprint, allowing the third-largest U.S. wireless company to buy the half of Clearwire it doesn’t already own.

Clearwire, a wireless Internet service provider, became a central focus of a bidding battle between Sprint and Dish, and part of a broader fight between Dish and SoftBank Corp. for control of Sprint. SoftBank, the Tokyo-based carrier run by billionaire Masayoshi Son, is seeking to enter the U.S. wireless market.

A special Clearwire shareholder vote on the Sprint offer is planned for July 8 at 1:30 p.m. New York time in Bellevue, Washington, where Clearwire is based.

Clearwire was unchanged at $5 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 73 percent this year, buoyed by the bidding war.

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