Sprint says no longer Clearwire majority owner

NEW YORK Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:49am EDT

A Sprint logo with a Manhattan skyline reflected in the window on the front door of the Sprint store on New York City's West 42nd street December 13, 2004. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A Sprint logo with a Manhattan skyline reflected in the window on the front door of the Sprint store on New York City's West 42nd street December 13, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) said on Monday it no longer has a majority stake in Clearwire Corp CLWR.O and as a result was able to increase its voting rights in the venture without risk of a default trigger on its own debt.

Last year Sprint, the biggest shareholder in Clearwire, reduced its voting shares in the company to below 50 percent in order to avoid any risk of a default trigger on its own debt at a time when Clearwire faced a possible loan default.

Because of recent equity that Clearwire issued, Sprint said its economic interest has declined to below 50 percent, giving it leeway to make its voting interest in line with its economic interest in Clearwire.

"Now that our economic interest has fallen below 50 percent, we are reclaiming our full voting rights so that our voting rights and economic rights are once again aligned," a Sprint spokesman, Scott Sloat, said.

Sprint shares were unchanged at $2.98, while Clearwire added 1 cent at $1.20.

(Reporting By Sinead Carew; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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