Sprint Takeover of Clearwire Just Wishful Thinking, for Now
Clearwire shareholders convinced that SoftBank’s $20 billion investment in Sprint is the first step in a deal that will see the carrier take full ownership of the struggling wireless broadband provider can put down their champagne bottles for the moment. Sprint has no immediate plans to buy Clearwire.
Sources familiar with Sprint’s thinking tell Bloomberg the company’s current — and obvious — priority is closing the SoftBank deal. That should take between six and eight months. And the company has wisely decided not to entangle itself in any further transactions until it has finalized the big one on the table right now.
That said, it’s worth noting that Sprint hasn’t explicitly ruled out a takeover of Clearwire. During a conference call to discuss the SoftBank investment, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the company was willing to consider most anything that would bolster the company’s competitive position.
“We will use those proceeds in whatever ways we think will maximize shareholder value,” he said. “It could be internal investments, external investments. It could possibly be to retire debt and reduce our interest expenses. There are a variety of ways that it could be put to use, and we’ll make those decisions at a later time.”
Clearwire shares, which spiked to a 52-week high on talk of a takeover, are tanking today on this news. At $2.35, they’re down over 12 percent as I write this.