According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the FCC has approved Softbank’s bid to merge with Sprint, and by extension Clearwire. The process started last year when Softbank and Sprint announced plans for the merger. Sprint also announced plans to acquire Clearwire using cash from the Softbank deal, as part of a strategy to increase their 4G LTE footprint in the U.S.
Since then, Softbank had to fight off a competing bid from Dish. Ultimately, Sprint stockholders approved the Softbank offer of $21.6B giving Softbank a 70% stake in the new company. With FCC approval, the companies will now be able to complete the merger and start moving forward with their develop Sprint into a much larger carrier, capable of competing with Verizon and AT&T.
Does Google have its sights on making a unique wireless network? Reports are indicating that it sure seems to be the case. In case you’re not familiar— Google recently submitted an application to the venerable FCC, asking for an experimental license to create an “experimental radio service” which would cover the Googleplex headquarters. What’s even more unique about the request is that the wireless frequencies would be compatible with select devices built to access certain frequencies— ranging from 2524 to 2625 megahertz and currently used by mobile carriers in markets abroad like in China or Brazil— meaning that many Android devices would likely not be compatible with this new network as of this time. Oh and here’s something that’s certainly eye-catching: Google plans on using wireless frequencies that are controlled by Clearwire… which just so happens to be part of the NOW Network’s family in case you’ve forgotten. The end result is the wireless frequencies would be more reliable than that of WiFi and would ultimately be “licensed spectrum”.
Naturally both Google and Clearwire are each staying mum on this interesting piece of news, so we won’t know of anything concrete or confirmed for now. But you can all bet that all eyes will be paying close attention in anticipation of what is to come.
source: WSJ Blog
Confirming news reported last week, Sprint and Clearwire made it official today that Sprint will acquire full ownership of Clearwire. Sprint announced they will pay $2.97 per share, or about $2.2 billion, to shareholders who own the almost 50% stake not currently owned by Sprint. The share price represents a 128 percent premium compared to Clearwire’s closing share price on October 11th, the day before discussions between Sprint and SoftBank were confirmed.
According to the press release issued today, Clearwire’s board of directors unanimously approved the definitive agreement. In addition, commitments were received from Comcast Corp., Intel Corp and Bright House Networks LLC to vote their shares, equal to a 13 percent stake, in favor of the agreement. The transaction is subject to the usual closing conditions, including regulatory approval. The deal is contingent on Sprint and SoftBank closing on their previously announced deal. Both agreements are anticipated to close sometime in mid-2013.
We already know that Sprint & Clearwire has quite the relationship, but Sprint fully intends from not just owning some of Clearwire, but it wants to acquire what’s left of the available Clearwire share. Reuters reports that Sprint (by way of Softbank) wants full control of Clearwire’s network and subsequent spectrum by making a full $2.1 billion offer. If the deal is approved (and all indications point to its approval), the entire value of Clearwire would be worth somewhere in the area of $4.2 billion— though we won’t see the deal formally approved until at least sometime in the March or April of the upcoming year.
Talk about Sprint wanting to put a ring on it. Sheesh.We’ll be on the lookout for any further developments on this big news.
Reporting on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street, show host David Farber indicated negotiations between Sprint and Clearwire have been heating up in the last few days. Sprint, which already owns a majority interest in Clearwire, has been rumored to be working on a deal to buy out the remaining shareholders. Discussions with some of the other major parties, like Bright House, Intel, and Comcast, have been held in an effort to work through some of the complexities of a potential buyout. According to Farber’s sources, Sprint is trying to gain complete control over Clearwire in order to have access to Clearwire’s spectrum.
Sprint is poised to become a subsidiary of Softbank, probably in March or April 2013. Individuals familiar with the negotiations think the closing of the Softbank deal and the Sprint/Clearwire deal should occur at the same time. In order to provide appropriate notice, Sprint will likely need to issue a statement before the end of the year. Clearwire’s debt holders noted the company did not call First Lien Notes yesterday, adding to the speculation that Clearwire does not anticipate being an independent company for much longer.
Sprint officially holds the controlling interest in Clearwire after buying out a shareholder pushing their stake in Clearwire from 48.1% to 50.8%. Clearwire and Sprint were both struggling financially but this move was made possible by Softbank acquiring Sprint on Monday. Sprint and Clearwire have done this dance before, but now that they have support from Softbank and a little more financial support it will be interesting to see what these companies are able to do in the future.
Sprint has recently voiced concerns with Clearwires’s debt and just announced that its holdings in the company are now below 50%. What does this mean exactly? Well, this means Sprint is no longer the majority share holder of the company and that the partnership between the two are going by the wayside.
Sprint has had an interesting partnership with Clearwire for the past couple of years as the two shared the 4G WiMAX network. While Sprint has been pushing to build their own 4G LTE network, Clearwire isn’t being used for that new plan. Thus, I would assume that this change in market share doesn’t really matter, nor will it affect Sprint in the future. We’re not quite sure what Sprint’s plan for Clearwire will be at this point as they have given no indication about their future partnership with the company. Either way you can be sure that Sprint’s complete and undivided attention is focused on pushing out their own LTE network to compete with Verizon and AT&T’s respective LTE services. And of course, we cannot forget about T-Mobile’s plans for their very own LTE network which is said to launch in 2013.
Sprint has begun taking measures that may lead to its eventual acquisition of Clearwire. Currently, Sprint is the majority shareholder of Clearwire, however it needs to buy out shares owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Brighthouse in order to have complete control over Clearwire’s WiMax network. So far Sprint has been discussing the matter with Comcast to provide funding to Clearwire so that it can speed progress of upgrading its network to LTE. Clearwire shut down service back in February to work on upgrading its network but progress has been slow. Sprint knows that LTE will be a necessary upgrade for Clearwire to remain competitive. So far no further comment has been made by Sprint, Comcast or Clearwire, but we will keep you posted.
In more recent news Clearwire is moving forward with advancements in its network, only this time the company states they’re implementing an “LTE Advanced-ready” technology to its current 4G configuration. This is pretty good news if you ask us. In my opinion, it’s equivalent to saying that Verizon is moving from an all 3G CDMA network to an all 3G GSM network, sort of. This is just confirmation that LTE is the way to go and the race is clearly on. With the rapid expansion of its LTE network, Verizon is determined to be the leader in this race to true 4G. As of now, Verizon is truly ‘ruling the air” with AT&T & T-Mobile somewhat in the rear view mirror.
According to the press release, Clearwire is tapping into “deep spectrum resources and an all-IP network to meet long-term mobile broadband demands.” Clearwire hopes with this new technology they’ll be able to leap frog over Verizon to take the lead. Initially, the company looks to aim towards “high-demand areas of current 4G markets” and they’ll be doing it with 120 Mbps speeds. John Saw, Clearwire’s CTO put it this way: