Reports: Clearwire Set to Back Dish Bid

By Industries FOXBusiness


The special committee formed by Clearwire’s (CLWR) board is set to delay Thursday’s shareholder vote and back Dish Network’s (DISH) tender offer, according to news reports Wednesday.

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Clearwire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shares of Clearwire were up four cents at $4.39 in late afternoon trading, while Dish was trading 3% lower at $37.97

The move would be a rejection of Clearwire’s deal with majority owner Sprint Nextel (S), which owns a nearly 51% stake. Sprint has claimed that Dish’s competing offer violates agreements between the wireless carrier and Clearwire.

In December, Sprint had a deal to buy the remaining stake in Clearwire for $2.97 a share. Dish swooped in the following month with a bid of $3.30 a share. Last month, Sprint raised its offer to $3.40 a share to appease several Clearwire shareholders, only to be outdone by Dish’s recent tender offer of $4.40 a share.

Sprint has attempted to fend off Dish’s attempt to become a major minority shareholder in Clearwire by suggesting that governance rights requested by the satellite TV operator can’t be granted without Sprint’s permission.

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Dish, which is seeking a stake of at least 25% and seats on Clearwire’s board, has countered that Sprint doesn’t need to forfeit any rights.

Meanwhile, Sprint itself is the subject of a bidding war. It agreed just days ago to a sweetened bid from Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank and gave Dish, which is also making a play for the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier, a deadline of June 18 to submit its best and final offer.

Sprint shares were up a penny at $7.36.