Search engine giant Google Inc has conformed that it intends to sell its 6.5% stake in US WiMAX operator Clearwire for just USD1.60 per share, US press reports have revealed. Google is said to have broken the news on Friday, in a regulatory filing to that effect. The total stake sale will be worth around USD47 million, a 94% loss on Google’s original USD500 million investment made in 2008.
Google was part of a consortium that also included cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and equipment vendor Intel Corp, which injected USD3.2 billion into Clearwire when it was taken over by majority shareholder Sprint Nextel in 2008. Although Google has not specified the reason behind its stake sale, it previously wrote down the value of its investment in both 2009 and 2011.
Google is not the first investor that has sought to distance itself from the struggling WiMAX operator. On 1 June 2011 main shareholder Sprint cut its voting interest from 53.7% to 49.8%, in an effort to placate investor concerns that the loss-making Clearwire may be considered a subsidiary and thus render Sprint liable for its outstanding debt.