Clearwire postpones vote due to Dish bid

Rob Powell/Telecom Ramblings
03 Jun 2013

Well they didn’t really have an alternative, so it came as no surprise that Clearwire postponed the vote on its proposed sale to Sprint for $3.40 per share.

The chances of Sprint’s bid winning that vote went from iffy to nil when Dish offered $4.40 per share in cash. But it does pose the rather basic question ‘now what?’

If Dish actually succeeds in buying the 49% of Clearwire that Sprint doesn’t own via this tactic, but Sprint refuses to sell its 51%, then both own a piece of a non-viable business.

Meanwhile, Dish and Softbank would still be bidding for Sprint itself while Dish could theoretically gum up the works indefinitely by preventing Softbank from getting Clearwire’s spectrum even if it wins the war for Sprint. But the whole mess would be unstable and would have to unravel before too long I think.

At some point, shouldn't billionaires Charlie Ergen (Dish) and Masayoshi Son (Softbank) sit down and work something out? I mean, it’s not as if they want different things – the enemy is the duopoly of Verizon Wireless and AT&T and perhaps T-Mobile USA, right?

And Softbank only wanted a 70% stake anyway, there’s room for a joint approach here that would benefit from having two deep-pocketed backers rather than one.

It’s not as if it’s going to be a cakewalk reinvigorating Sprint’s beleagured third-place business model. Ergen and Son are both formidable guys who bring a lot to the table, and both have other pots on the fire. Of course, they might be oil and water – who knows.

This article was authored by Rob Powell and was originally posted on

Rob Powell is founder & editor of Telecom Ramblings, which was set up in 2008. The website is dedicated to discussing trends and developments in the telecom industry.

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