Sprint to Take Control of Clearwire

Sprint Nextel Corp. is set to gain control of partner Clearwire Corp. without an acquisition, people familiar with the matter said, a deal that will clarify a long-dysfunctional relationship that became a central issue in the No. 3 U.S. carrier’s $20 billion acquisition by Japan’s Softbank Corp.

Clearwire, a wireless broadband network operator that loses money and is carrying a heavy load of debt, holds vast reserves of spectrum that were important to Softbank, people familiar with the matter said. By negotiating an agreement with other investors in Clearwire, in which Sprint holds a 48 percent stake, Sprint is gaining control of the company without having to acquire all of it, the people said.

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