Sprint, Clearwire, agree to $2.2B deal

Dec. 17, 2012 at 1:44 PM

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Sprint Nextel, the third largest U.S. telecommunications service said Monday it had agreed to buy the portion of Clearwire that it did not yet own.

The New York Times reported that Sprint had raised its bid from $2.90 per share that was revealed Thursday to $2.97 per share, pushing the total value of the deal to $2.2 billion, a premium of 128 percent over Clearwire's price before news of a possible acquisition became public.

Sprint currently owns 51.7 percent of Clearwire. On Thursday, a public filing revealed that Sprint had made an offer valued at $2.1 billion.

With the purchase, Sprint can close some of the considerable gap between itself and AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two largest carriers in the country. But the deal was made possible by an injection of cash from SoftBank of Japan, which agreed to buy a majority of Sprint for $20.1 billion in October.

Having a parent company with deep pockets has enabled Sprint to make the latest move, the Times said.

"Today's transaction marks yet another significant step in Sprint's improved competitive position and ability to offer customers better products, more choices and better service," said Sprint Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse in a statement.

Among the immediate advantages in the deal, Clearwire owns a portion of the spectrum similar to the one used in Japan by SoftBank, which means Sprint would have quick access to recently released smart phones, the Times said.

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