Clearwire shareholders approve Sprint takeover

Now that Dish Network is out of the picture, Clearwire shareholders have officially accepted Sprint's $5 a share offer to buy its remaining shares.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Sprint has jumped through the last hoop in its effort to buy the remaining stake in Clearwire.

On Monday, Clearwire shareholders approved a deal in which Sprint, which owns about 50 percent of the company, would buy the remaining shares of Clearwire for $5 a share. The companies said the deal is expected to close on Tuesday.

Clearwire offers a nationwide wireless broadband network using spectrum in the 2.5GHz band. Sprint, which had previously owned about 50 percent of the company, is the only customer that Clearwire has for its wholesale network business. The company also has a retail business that offers wireless broadband service to consumers.

Sprint wanted to buy out the other shareholders of Clearwire -- specifically cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks -- to roll the company into its own business. Meanwhile, Japanese service provider SoftBank has been pursuing Sprint since October.

Clearwire's personal hot spot can be used for 4G access. Clearwire

The deal between Sprint and Clearwire was expected to be a straightforward "roll-up" deal for Sprint, paving the way for a smooth acquisition from Softbank. But then satellite TV provider Dish Network entered the picture. And it offered to buy Clearwire. Dish also said it wanted to buy Sprint and offered yet another unsolicited bid for $25 billion for Sprint.

Dish twice countered Sprint's offer for Clearwire, forcing Sprint to increase its bid. Sprint ended up increasing its price for the outstanding shares from $2.97 a share to $5 a share.

Meanwhile, Dish was also playing hardball with Softbank in its attempt to buy Sprint. Eventually realizing that the price was getting too high, Dish removed its offer to acquire Sprint to focus on its acquisition of Clearwire. But late last month, Dish gave up on its $6.3 billion offer to buy Clearwire as well. And on June 26 it said it was withdrawing its offer for Clearwire. This paved the way for Clearwire to finally be bought by Sprint.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission approved the transfer of wireless licenses from Sprint to SoftBank, a key milestone in getting that deal finalized.