Clearwire's board backs Dish takeover proposal over Sprint

Wireless broadband provider's board recommends shareholders accept Dish's bid, which is $1 a share greater than a rival bid by majority owner Sprint Nextel.

Clearwire's board has recommended its shareholders accept Dish Network's takeover offer over a rival bid by majority owner Sprint Nextel.

The wireless broadband provider announced Wednesday that its special committee had unanimously recommended Dish's offer of $4.40 per share in cash. Clearwire has scheduled a special meeting of stockholders for June 24, where a vote on Dish's offer is planned.

Dish welcomed the decision, asserting that its proposal offered the best value to Clearwire shareholders.

"We appreciate Clearwire's recognition of the superior value that our tender offer provides to its shareholders," Dish spokesperson Bob Toeves told CNET.

CNET has contacted Sprint for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Sprint announced in December that the two companies had agreed to a deal for the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier to acquire the 50 percent of Clearwire it does not currently own for $2.97 per share, or $2.2 billion. But Dish countered with a surprise unsolicited bid of $3.30 per share, or $5.15 billion.

Sprint revised its proposal last month to $3.40 a share, edging Dish's offer by 10 cents a share, an offer Sprint called its "best and final." Two days before stockholders were scheduled to vote on Sprint's proposal, Dish came back with an offer that exceeded Sprint's by $1 a share , a 29 percent premium.

Clearwire, which provides 4G services to carriers and consumers, controls wireless spectrum that could be valuable to Dish, which recently won approval from the Federal Communications Commission to build its own LTE network.

Sprint is also a takeover target for Dish, with the satellite TV provider battling SoftBank in a bidding war and a public war of words, with each claiming it would be the best buyer for the troubled wireless carrier.

Sprint has been in talks with SoftBank since last October regarding a $20.1 billion offer. After Dish came in with a surprise counteroffer of $25.5 billion, SoftBank countered with a $21.6 billion offer it claims gives shareholders greater cash consideration.

 

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