Ina Fried

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Sprint Ups Bid for Clearwire to Outbid Dish Network, but Will It Be Enough?

Sprint on Tuesday upped its bid for Clearwire to $3.40 per share, slightly above the amount Dish Network said it was willing to pay for the network provider.

lets-make-a-deal-feature

The move comes just ahead of a vote of Clearwire shareholders scheduled for later Tuesday — a vote that clearly wasn’t going to go Sprint’s way. Sprint, which already owns just more than half of Clearwire, needed the approval of the majority of Clearwire’s minority shareholders — some of which vocally opposed the deal.

With the new offer, Clearwire said it is adjourning the scheduled meeting without taking any action, and its board will review the new offer. The meeting is now set to resume May 30.

“Consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, the Special Committee of the Clearwire Board of Directors will review this revised proposal from Sprint,” Clearwire said.

It’s unclear, though, whether the bump will be enough to satisfy shareholders such as Crest Financial, who have said they believe that Clearwire is worth significantly more than Sprint’s original $2.97-per-share offer. Sprint’s offer has also been contingent upon its deal with SoftBank going through, and Dish Network is also offering a rival bid for Sprint.

Sprint touted the benefits of its increased bid, while also saying it was the company’s “best and final offer.”

“The revised offer demonstrates Sprint’s commitment to closing the Clearwire transaction and improving its competitive position in the U.S. wireless industry,” Sprint said in a statement. “Sprint’s proposal provides a clear path forward for Clearwire and the merger provides attractive value for shareholders of both companies.”

Update, 10:25 a.m.: Crest Financial said it opposes the new bid as well and took issue with Clearwire’s handling of things, saying it should have a competitive bid process if it is going to sell itself.

“Clearwire is acting in its usual stockholder-unfriendly way by adjourning the special meeting to grant Sprint the ability to pose a new, still inadequate offer,” Crest general counsel David K. Schumacher said in a statement. “This is a consistent theme of this Board: Do everything possible to secure an undesirable merger with Sprint at a below market price.”

Crest also sent a letter to Clearwire’s board, urging them to reject the new bid.

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