Sprint Connection

More Clearwire shareholders join push for Sprint to raise bid

Updated: 2013-01-18T23:54:01Z

Bloomberg News

More Clearwire Corp. shareholders have joined the chorus of investors asking Sprint Nextel Corp. to raise its bid for the wireless-network operator after a counteroffer from Dish Network Corp.

Glenview Capital Management, which owns about 28 million Class A shares, plans to reject Sprint’s current offer, according to Bloomberg News. Taran Asset Management, another Clearwire investor, says it will file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, arguing that Clearwire is worth more than Sprint’s bid, said Chris Gleason, a principal at the New York-based firm.

“Sprint has the ability to get the deal done if they increase their offer,” said Gleason, whose firm owns 3 million shares of Clearwire.

Sprint, which already owns just over 50 percent of Clearwire, is trying to buy the rest of the shares for $2.97 apiece. After Clearwire’s board agreed to the terms last month, Dish moved in with a $3.30-a-share offer. Sprint has argued that its bid is superior because it’s simpler and carries fewer conditions.

Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite-television provider, is making the bid as part of an expansion into mobile-phone service. Its proposal would require Clearwire shareholders to sell at least 25 percent of the stock and wouldn’t depend on Sprint’s participation, though it’s subject to conditions that may require Sprint’s approval.

Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, has said the matter is in the hands of the Clearwire special committee, which has accepted Sprint’s offer.

“We believe our offer is superior to Dish’s,” said Sprint spokesman Bill White. “Dish has made a highly conditional proposal, so it’s not even possible to make a counteroffer to that.”

Dish, founded by billionaire Charlie Ergen, asked regulators Thursday to pause their review of a separate transaction — Softbank Corp.’s $20 billion investment in Sprint.

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