We're deep into a bona fide bidding war here -- Sprint and Dish are both battling for an approximately 50-percent stake in Clearwire, and as of today, that former contestant's bid makes it the new front runner. To catch you up, last month Dish offered $4.40 per share for Clearwire, following Sprint's offer of $3.40 per share made way back in December. Now, the carrier has increased its bid to a whopping 5 bucks per share, which values Clearwire at just about $14 billion. (As you can probably imagine, CLWR's trading price has jumped today to match that new target.) This comes just days after Sprint filed a lawsuit to prevent the other two parties from moving forward. Whether or not CLWR's spectrum and other assets make it worth that sum is a different story, but Sprint clearly sees some solid value there.
SPRINT AND CLEARWIRE AGREE TO INCREASED ACQUISITION OFFER
Increased Offer to $5.00 Per Share Represents Significant Premium to Unaffected Clearwire Trading Price and DISH Network Tender Offer
Group of Significant Minority Stockholders Agree to Vote in Favor of Sprint Transaction
Offer Provides Clearwire Stockholders with Certain and Attractive Value
Sprint (NYSE:S) and Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) today announced that they have agreed to amend Sprint's agreement to acquire the approximately 50 percent of Clearwire it does not currently own (the "minority stake") for $5.00 per share, valuing Clearwire at approximately $14 billion, or about $0.30 per MHZ-pop. This increased offer represents a 47 percent premium to Sprint's previous offer of $3.40 per share announced on May 21, 2013 and a 285 percent premium to Clearwire's closing share price on Oct. 10, 2012, the day before the Sprint-SoftBank discussions were first confirmed in the marketplace and Clearwire was speculated to be a part of that transaction. This offer also represents a 14 percent premium to the $4.40 per share DISH tender offer.
Sprint has received commitments from a group of significant Clearwire stockholders, including Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, Glenview Capital Management LLC, Chesapeake Partners Management Co., Inc. and Highside Capital Management LP, which collectively own approximately 9 percent of Clearwire's voting shares, to vote their shares in support of the transaction. These stockholders have also agreed to sell their shares to Sprint in the event the transaction does not close.
Together with the voting commitments previously received from Comcast Corp., Intel Corp and Bright House Networks LLC, who collectively own approximately 13 percent of Clearwire's voting shares, and Clearwire's directors and officers, stockholders owning approximately 45 percent of the Clearwire voting shares not affiliated with Sprint, have now agreed to vote their shares in support of the transaction. Sprint expects a majority of the non-Sprint stockholders to support the Clearwire merger based on these agreements and the votes of shareholders with both Sprint and Clearwire shareholdings who have already voted in favor of the Sprint SoftBank transaction.
In addition to the increased price per share, the companies have further amended the merger agreement that was previously entered into. Specifically, among other things, in certain circumstances where the transaction between Sprint and Clearwire terminates, Clearwire will be required to pay a termination fee of $115 million, or 3 percent of the equity value of the minority stake. In the event the transaction is not completed, Clearwire has agreed to hold its annual shareholder meeting as expeditiously as possible and if the transaction is not completed under certain circumstances, Clearwire has agreed to waive the current standstill provision in the Equityholders' Agreement between Sprint, Clearwire, and the company's strategic investors. That standstill provision was originally set to expire on November 28, 2013.
The revised offer demonstrates Sprint's commitment to closing the Clearwire transaction and improving its competitive position in the U.S. wireless industry. Sprint is uniquely positioned to leverage Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum assets. Sprint's Network Vision architecture should allow for better strategic alignment and the full utilization and integration of Clearwire's complementary 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to 4G LTE standards.
Sprint's proposal provides a clear path forward for Clearwire and the merger provides attractive value for shareholders of both companies.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of Clearwire's stockholders, including the approval of a majority of Clearwire stockholders not affiliated with Sprint or SoftBank. The closing of the transaction is also contingent on the consummation of Sprint's previously announced transaction with SoftBank. SoftBank has consented to the amendment.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 55 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation's greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Clearwire Corporation (Nasdaq:CLWR), through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services offering services in areas of the U.S. where more than 130 million people live. The company holds the deepest portfolio of wireless spectrum available for data services in the U.S. Clearwire serves retail customers through its own CLEAR® brand as well as through wholesale relationships with some of the leading companies in the retail, technology and telecommunications industries, including Sprint and NetZero. The company is constructing a next-generation 4G LTE Advanced-ready network to address the capacity needs of the market, and is also working closely with the Global TDD-LTE Initiative to further the TDD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. Additional information is available at http://www.clearwire.com.