Sprint has announced today that it is set to acquire 100% ownership of Clearwire in a deal worth $2.97 per share — or roughly $2.2 billion. The carrier says it plans to utilize Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum, which will be migrated to 4G LTE standards, to achieve “operational efficiencies and improved service for customers.”
Sprint has paid a 128% premium on Clearwire’s closing share price the day before the Sprint-SoftBank discussions were first confirmed in the marketplace on October 11. The deal gives Clearwire an enterprise value of approximately $10 billion, including net debt and spectrum lease obligations of $5.5 billion.
Sprint is confident that Clearwire’s spectrum will allow the company to strengthen its position and increase competitiveness in the U.S. wireless industry with an “enhanced spectrum portfolio.”
“Today’s transaction marks yet another significant step in Sprint’s improved competitive position and ability to offer customers better products, more choices and better services,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.
“Sprint is uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Clearwire’s spectrum and efficiently deploy it to increase Sprint’s network capacity. We believe this transaction, particularly when leveraged with our SoftBank relationship, is further validation of our strategy and allows Sprint to control its network destiny.”
The transaction was “unanimously” approved by Clearwire’s board of directors, Sprint says, following a recommendation of a special committee of the Clearwire board consisting of disinterested directors not appointed by Sprint. In addition, Clearwire has received commitments from Comcast, Intel, and Bright House Networks, who collectively own around 13% of Clearwire’s voting shares, to vote their shares in support of the transaction.
The deal still needs regulatory approval and the approval of Clearwire’s shareholders not affiliated with Sprint or SoftBank before it can go ahead, however. The transaction is expected to close mid-2013.