* CFO Brust says Clearwire deal would be too expensive
* Says gradual increase in equity is more likely
* Brust sees CFO transition sometime in Q1
* Sprint shares up 0.88 pct on NYSE
NEW YORK, Sept 15 Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) will
not buy out its partners in the Clearwire Corp CLWR.O venture
anytime soon, Sprint's chief financial officer said on
Wednesday, noting that such a deal would be too expensive.
CFO Robert Brust was responding to analysts' speculation
that Sprint, which owns roughly 55 percent of Clearwire, would
try to take full ownership of the company to increase its
control of operational issues such as plans to expand into new
Clearwire, which is building a high-speed wireless network,
has several big-name investors including cable operators such
as Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), Time Warner Cable TWC.N as well as
Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Google Inc (GOOG.O).
But in response to questions during a webcast of an
investor conference Brust rejected the idea of an acquisition,
at least in the near term, even as he conceded that it would
help Sprint to have full control.
"The path that's probably likely is that we'll continue to
infuse some equity (investments) over the coming years and
maybe some way down the road to take control of it." he said.
"An imminent move on that would just be very expensive."
Brust said he expects to leave the company next year as
Sprint is searching for a new CFO.
"Sometime probably in the first quarter or so a transition
will happen," he said.
In late afternoon trade, Sprint shares were up 4 cents or
0.88 percent at $4.60 on New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Richard Chang)