Jan 8 Dish Network Corp has made an
unsolicited offer to buy Clearwire Corp for about $2.28
billion, trumping an offer by Clearwire shareholder Sprint
Nextel Corp and potentially interfering with Softbank
Corp's plan to take a majority stake in Sprint.
Satellite television provider Dish has been working on plans
to enter the wireless industry for some time and has amassed
billions of dollars worth of spectrum over the past few years.
The move to bid for Clearwire is not a total surprise as
Dish had asked the U.S. telecom regulator last month for more
time to file an objection to wireless service provider Sprint's
proposed sale of a controlling stake to Japan's Softbank due to
Sprint's announcement last month of a plan to buy out Clearwire.
At the time the request was seen as an indication that Dish,
controlled by billionaire founder Charlie Ergen, was gearing up
for a fight with Sprint over its plan to sell a 70 percent stake
to Softbank for $20 billion.
Clearwire said the proposal of $3.30 per share was only a
preliminary indication of interest and subject to a number of
uncertainties and conditions. Based on Clearwire's outstanding
class A shares the offer would amount to $2.28 billion.
Clearwire's shares closed at $2.90 on Monday.
One condition would be approval by Sprint. The wireless
carrier owns around 50 percent of Clearwire and has made a bid
to buy the stake it does not currently own for $2.97 a share or
Clearwire's special committee of the board of directors has
not made any change to its recommendation of the current Sprint
transaction, Clearwire said.
Dish's head of corporate development Tom Cullen said the
company was looking forward to working with Clearwire's special
In a response to the Dish proposal, Clearwire said it
received a letter from Sprint stating it had reviewed Dish's
offer and "believes that it is illusory, inferior to the Sprint
transaction and not viable..."
Dish shares dropped 1.3 percent to $35.50 in after-hours
trade. Trading in Clearwire shares was halted.