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Sprint expected to buy Clearwire, but not until finalizing SoftBank deal

Rumors by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday October 16, 2012.

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Please note that this story is based upon rumor and/or speculation.
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After SoftBank announced that it would pay $20.1 billion to purchase a 70 percent stake in Sprint, analysts and stock traders immediately speculated that Sprint would attempt to acquire Clearwire. That's not going to happen in the immediate future, but there's a chance it may occur next year.

SoftBank has stated that its deal does not require Sprint to take any steps with Clearwire, other than fulfilling commitments previously made to the wireless provider. Clearwire has been crucial to Sprint's 4G strategy since it introduced WiMax in 2010, and Clearwire's upcoming LTE network build-out and spectrum holdings could prove beneficial to Sprint's pending network. Sprint already owns 48 percent of Clearwire, which has struggled to find financial stability while building fourth generation networks. Sprint has been reluctant to invest more cash into the company or acquire remaining shares because doing so would negatively affect its own finances. The influx of cash from a deal with SoftBank might change things, so Sprint may reconsider purchasing the remaining 52 percent of shares in Clearwire.

Clearwire shares increased 28 percent following the announcement of SoftBank's purchase of Sprint on Monday. None of the companies involved responded to Bloomberg's request for comment; however, it is widely believed that SoftBank will look to Clearwire to increase its spectrum and LTE options in the U.S. next year. With MetroPCS and T-Mobile choosing to merge, Clearwire is the most attractive option. Sprint is unlikely to make moves to purchase another carrier until its transaction with SoftBank closes in mid 2013.

source: Bloomberg, via: Fierce Wireless

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