The ongoing attempt by US satellite TV giant DISH Network to secure a foothold in the US wireless market has taken a new twist, after Clearwire’s board moved to endorse DISH’s bid to acquire a stake in the company – effectively giving current majority stake holder Sprint Nextel the cold shoulder. A special committee set up by Clearwire’s board to contemplate the competing offers, has voted in favour of the satellite TV firm’s bid, and postponed the shareholder vote on the matter from 13 June to 24 June as a result.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2013 US wireless broadband specialist Clearwire announced that it had received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from DISH to acquire all of its common stock for USD3.30 per share – subject to minimum ownership of at least 25% and the granting of certain governance rights. On 17 December 2012 Clearwire entered into a definitive agreement with majority shareholder Sprint Nextel to sell the latter the almost 50% stake that it does not already own, for USD2.97 per share.
In related news, DISH’s parallel USD25.5 billion approach for Sprint Nextel itself has reportedly floundered over the value of a reverse-breakup fee. According to Bloomberg, Sprint is pushing for a USD3 billion reverse-breakup fee while DISH is only willing to pay USD1 billion. As part of the rival agreement between Sprint and Japan’s Softbank Corp, the latter has agreed to pay a reverse-breakup fee of just USSD600 million if its own deal collapses.