Dish Trumps Sprint with Surprise Bid for Clearwire

 

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) made an unsolicited offer to purchase Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) for approximately $3.30 per share. The deal competes with a previous bid for the company by majority shareholder Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which bid $2.2 billion last month.

According to a statement from Clearwire, Dish wants to acquire Clearwire spectrum covering approximately 11.4 billion MHz-POPs, which is approximately 24 percent of Clearwire's total spectrum holdings, for $2.2 billion. As part of the deal, Clearwire could sell or lease an additional 2 MHz of its spectrum to Dish and it could also provide certain services such as network management, construction and maintenance for a network in the AWS-4 spectrum.  

Clearwire said a special committee made up of members of its board is reviewing the Dish offer but the company has not made any changes to its deal with Sprint. Sprint last month made a $2.97 per share, or approximately $2.2 billion, offer to buy 49 percent of Clearwire's shares that the company does not already own.

In a statement, Dish confirmed its Clearwire offer and said it was looking forward to working with Clearwire's special committed on the proposal.

Interestingly, Clearwire said that it received a response from Sprint in response to Dish's proposal to purchase Clearwire's spectrum. Clearwire said that Sprint "reviewed the Dish proposal and believes that it is illusory, inferior to the Sprint transaction and not viable because it cannot be implemented in light of Clearwire's current legal and contractual obligations. Sprint has stated that the Sprint Agreement would prohibit Clearwire from entering into agreements for much of the Dish proposal." 

Sprint listed a number of reasons Clearwire could not enter into a transaction with Dish Network, including that Clearwire is prohibited from selling spectrum without Sprint's consent.

For more:
- see this Dish statement
- see this Clearwire statement
-
 see this WSJ article

 
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