Following its bid to acquire the remaining shares of Clearwire it didn’t already own, US operator Sprint announced today it has agreed a deal to purchase the 50 percent stake for $2.97 per share, in a deal worth $2.2 billion.
Sprint — which was recently acquired by Japanese operator Softbank for $20.1 billion — has paid a 128 percent premium on Clearwire’s closing share price the day that the two companies entered negotiations in October, rising more than 40 percent after it alerted its investors that it sought to buy the remaining shares for $2.60 a piece on November 21.
The US operator is now well placed to utilise Clearwire’s spectrum, providing the company with “an enhanced spectrum portfolio that will strengthen its position and increase competitiveness in the U.S. wireless industry.” Following its Sprint buyout, Softbank has noted its desire to “establish an operating base as one of the largest mobile Internet companies in the world” – Clearwire’s assets help it do just that.
Sprint says that it will allow for “better strategic alignment and the full utilization and integration of Clearwire’s complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.”
After Sprint’s initial offer on November 21, Clearwire’s board of directors unanimously approved the acquisition following a recommendation that a special board committee of disinterested directors was set up, and had no involvement from Sprint.
Softbank agreed the deal, as Comcast, Intel and Bright House Networks (which own 13 percent of Clearwire’s voting shares) pledged support by voting in favor of the acquisition.
Sprint has committed to providing up to $800 million of funding for Clearwire, which will see it buy $80 million of exchangeable notes per month for up to ten months from January 2013.