Dish Network Raises Offer to Buy Clearwire Above Rival Sprint Offer

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Dish Network has raised its offer to buy a large, but minority stake in the USA WiMAX network, Clearwire, valuing the company at USD6.5 billion.

It has trumped a rival bid by Sprint Nextel -- which is also the majority shareholder in Clearwire -- by nearly 30%

Sprint Nextel currently owns just over 50% of Clearwire, and has offered to buy out the remaining minority shareholders, with its deal being backed by Japan's Softbank, which has in turn offered to buy 70% of Sprint.

Dish is also looking to buy a 70% stake in Sprint, and has also offered to buy a large stake in Clearwire. If however, Dish ends up with a large stake in Clearwire, but loses the bid for Sprint, then it will end up as a minority owner in a company dependent on Sprint.

Clearwire's shareholders are due to meet to discuss the rival bids this coming Friday. The Dish deal is conditional on at least a quarter of the shareholders offering to sell their shares -- which equates to at least half the minority shareholders agreeing.

"The Clearwire spectrum portfolio has always been a key component to implementing our wireless plans of delivering a superior product and service offering to customers," said Charlie Ergen, chairman and co-founder of Dish.

In a separate development, Dish responded to the news that the US foreign investment regulators have approved the Softbank offer to buy a majority stake in Sprint, stating that the approval does not address the national security concerns that it had raised before.

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Tags: dish network  clearwire  sprint nextel  USA 

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