Clearwire shares rise on spectrum sale speculation

Fri Feb 4, 2011 1:07pm EST

* T-Mobile spectrum buy may happen soon - Bloomberg

* Clearwire shares up nearly 8 percent

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Clearwire Corp CLWR.O shares were up nearly 8 percent on Friday after a report that T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), was close to buying wireless airwaves from Clearwire.

Clearwire shares were up 41 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $5.69 in early afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

Bloomberg reported that a deal could happen by the end of this quarter even as it also said that T-Mobile USA was not in a rush buy the spectrum, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The story follows a Jan. 19 Reuters report that said T-Mobile USA was the only interested party in a spectrum auction Clearwire is running and that a deal could happen as early as this quarter. [ID:nN19254463]

Clearwire and T-Mobile USA were not immediately available for comment. T-Mobile USA has said publicly that it needs access to more spectrum in coming years and was considering options including a Clearwire deal.

For its part, Clearwire, which is 54 percent owned by Sprint Nextel (S.N), has also made no secret of the fact that it is seeking more financing to fund a wireless network it is building, with one option involving a spectrum sale.

"This news story makes people think its probably going to move forward on this sale," said BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk. "That's good for them no matter what happens."

Piecyk said that the prospect of a deal with No. 4 U.S. mobile service T-Mobile USA could put pressure on Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service, to buy the rest of Clearwire it does not already own.

"Our best view is that at some point Sprint comes to its senses and buys Clearwire," Piecyk said. "Clearwire may be forcing the issue."

Sprint shares were up 1.1 percent at $4.40 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Tim Dobbyn)

((sinead.carew@thomsonreuters.com + 1 646 2236186)) Keywords: CLEARWIRE/SHARES

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