Sprint Agrees to Buy-Out Clearwire Shareholders for $2.2 Billion
USA based Sprint Nextel has confirmed that it is buying out the other shareholders in the WiMAX/LTE network, Clearwire.
The company is paying US$2.2 billion for the roughly 50% of the company that it does not already own, giving the company a value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.
The transaction consideration represents a 128 percent premium to Clearwire's closing share price the day before the Sprint-SoftBank discussions were first confirmed in the marketplace on October 11, with Clearwire speculated to be a part of that transaction; and, a 40 percent premium to the closing price the day before receipt of Sprint's initial $2.60 per share non-binding indication of interest on November 21.
Sprint said that Clearwire's spectrum, when combined with its own, will provide it with an enhanced spectrum portfolio that will strengthen its position and increase competitiveness in the U.S. wireless industry. Sprint's Network Vision architecture should allow for better strategic alignment and the full utilization and integration of Clearwire's complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, "Today's transaction marks yet another significant step in Sprint's improved competitive position and ability to offer customers better products, more choices and better services. Sprint is uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Clearwire's spectrum and efficiently deploy it to increase Sprint's network capacity. We believe this transaction, particularly when leveraged with our SoftBank relationship, is further validation of our strategy and allows Sprint to control its network destiny."
The transaction was unanimously approved by Clearwire's board of directors. In addition, Clearwire has received commitments from Comcast, Intel and Bright House Networks, who collectively own approximately 13 percent of Clearwire's voting shares, to vote their shares in support of the transaction. SoftBank has provided its consent to the transaction, as required under the terms of its recently announced merger agreement with Sprint.
In connection with the transaction, Clearwire and Sprint have entered into agreements that provide up to $800 million of additional financing for Clearwire.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of Clearwire's stockholders, including the approval of a majority of Clearwire stockholders not affiliated with Sprint or SoftBank. The closing of the transaction is also contingent on the consummation of Sprint's previously announced transaction with SoftBank.
The Clearwire and SoftBank transactions are expected to close mid-2013.