Sprint Buys Back Controlling Stake in Clearwire
Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) has bought back a controlling stake in its 4G WiMax partnerClearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), it emerged Thursday.
Sprint said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has bought a stake in Clearwire from Eagle River Holdings LLC that brings its interest back to a controlling 50.8 percent. Sprint's stake in Clearwire fell below 50 percent for the first time since May 2008 in July 2012.
The deal comes just days after SoftBank Mobile Corp. announced a deal to take a 70 percent stake in Sprint for US$20.1 billion. That deal is expected to close in the first half of 2013.
Why this mattersThe deal will give SoftBank, through Sprint, control over Clearwire's vast 2.5GHz-2.6GHz spectrum holdings in the U.S. SoftBank uses 2.6GHz for its LTE TDD in Japan, and Clearwire has been testing similar 4G technology stateside, so the move suggests that the companies could move to introduce a faster 4G network in the U.S. and fulfill Clearwire's plans.
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