Move Over, Sprint; Dish Makes $5.15B Bid for Clearwire

by Tom Taulli | January 9, 2013 11:02 am

[1]It seemed like Sprint’s (NYSE:S[2]) proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of 4G network provider Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR[3]) was a sure thing.

But deals can sometimes be messy — and that might wind up being the case with Clearwire.

Today, Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH[4]) made an offer for the company at $3.30 a share[5], or $5.15 billion, that has driven CLWR shares up 7%. (In comparison, Sprint’s current offer is $2.97).

Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has spent billions on spectrum to build his own mobile network, so having Clearwire — which has already built a network — would be a nice boost.

But while Ergen is known to be a tough corporate fighter[6], his odds of winning the company are slim. After all, Sprint already owns half of Clearwire and has veto rights on asset sales.

So why go after the company? Well, Charlie might not really want Clearwire. Instead, his buyout offer may be a clever way to get the attention of Sprint, which would be an even better partner for rolling out a mobile service.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook[7], a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook[8]” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders[9].” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli[10]. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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