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Clearwire investor offers alternative financing plan to block Sprint purchase

Updated: 2013-04-04T03:07:59Z

Bloomberg News

Clearwire Corp. investor Crest Financial Ltd. offered to provide the wireless Internet company $240 million in financing as an alternative to taking money from potential acquirer Sprint Nextel Corp.

The convertible debt offer, announced Wednesday, comes less than a week after Clearwire drew $80 million in financing from Sprint for a second straight month. The financing from Overland Park-based Sprint, which already owns just over 50 percent of Clearwire, can be converted to Clearwire stock at $1.50 a share.

Crest is one of the minority shareholders that has opposed Sprint’s proposal to acquire the rest of Clearwire for $2.97 a share. Crest has said it supports a competing bid from Dish Network Corp. to buy Clearwire shares for $3.30 each.

The terms of Crest’s convertible debt are better than Sprint’s and are “designed to free Clearwire to explore alternatives to Sprint’s inadequate merger offer,” the investor said in the statement. Crest’s proposed notes could be converted to Clearwire stock at $2 a share.

Mike DiGioia, a Clearwire spokesman, said, “We have received the proposal from Crest Financial. Our special committee of the board will evaluate the offer to determine what, if any, action to take.”

Clearwire stock rose less than 1 percent to $3.28. Sprint closed at $6.16, down 7 cents. Scott Sloat, a Sprint spokesman, declined to comment.

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