Clearwire Raises $1.5 Billion–None of It from Google
How quickly Sprint has gone from cutting jobs to cutting checks. Not 24 hours after announcing plans to sack between 2,000 and 25,000 employees, the company said it has agreed to invest another $1.18 billion in WiMax provider Clearwire. That’s a big check to be writing, but then, Sprint (S) is Clearwire’s majority shareholder and the carrier’s plans for differentiated 4G services rely heavily on the outfit’s success.
With Clearwire struggling to build out a next-generation network that will go up against Verizon Wireless (VZ) and AT&T (T) for future mobile customers, Sprint has little choice but to throw more money at it. But it’s not alone in doing so. Fellow partners Comcast (CMSCA), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Intel (INTC), Eagle River Holdings and Bright House Networks are also making additional investments, though together they total only $500 million.
Oddly absent from this list is Google (GOOG), which participated in a May 2008 investment round that pumped $12 billion into Clearwire but has evidently decided to sit this one out. Said Google spokesman Andrew Pederson: “We have already made a significant financial investment, and at this point we think the best way we can continue to add value is through continued product and strategic cooperation.”
One wonders if the shared mission of which the two companies boasted when the deal was announced has somehow changed in the ensuing year.