Clearwire posts narrower loss even as revenue falls

NEW YORK Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:58pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Clearwire Corp CLWR.O, the wireless service provider that both Sprint Nextel (S.N) and Dish Network (DISH.O) want to buy, reported a narrower quarterly loss even as revenue declined.

Clearwire, which is already majority owned by Sprint, on Tuesday posted a net loss of $187.15 million or 29 cents per share compared with a loss of $236.85 million or 81 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding unusual items Clearwire's loss would have been 27 cents per share, in line with Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Roe Equity Research analyst Kevin Roe noted that Clearwire's shareholders are far more interested in its ownership status than its numbers. "Their operational results are not what's driving the shares," Roe said.

Shares in Clearwire were basically unchanged after closing at $3.18 on Nasdaq.

After Clearwire agreed to a $2.97 per share bid from Sprint in December, satellite television provider Dish announced a rival offer of $3.30 per share in January. Clearwire has said that it was reviewing the offer even though its board said it has not changed its recommendation in favor of the Sprint deal.

Many shareholders have complained that the Sprint offer is not high enough but Sprint, which needs shareholder approval, has said that it believes its offer is superior.

While some analysts have speculated about whether Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen was serious about Clearwire, Ergen said on Monday that his offer is not "illusory" and that Sprint would have to work to fend off his bid.

Meanwhile Clearwire, which has previously said that it has enough money to fund itself into the third quarter, said its cash, equivalents and investments fell $315.1 million to $868.6 million in the fourth quarter, reflecting a semi-annual interest payment and other expenses that cash generated in the quarter.

Clearwire revenue fell to $311.2 million from $361.87 million and missed analyst expectations for $313.62 million.

(Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by M.D. Golan)

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