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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 12/17/2012

Sprint, Clearwire announce a deal

Sprint announced Monday that it has reached a deal with Clearwire to acquire 100 percent of the company.

The $2.2 billion deal will see the nation’s third-largest carrier pay $2.97 per share for the 50 percent of Clearwire that it does not already own. On Thursday, a Sprint filing revealed the company initially offered a $2.1 billion bid of $2.90 per share, but Clearwire investors shareholders told Reuters on Friday that they would like a bigger offer.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and cannot go through until Sprint completes a separate deal with the Japanese carrier SoftBank. SoftBank announced in October that it plans to acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint.

Sealing a deal with Clearwire puts Sprint in a good position to build out its all-important 4G LTE network. While Sprint has been able to lure customers with its unlimited data plan, it lags behind in deploying the high-speed network technology.

In a statement, Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse elaborated on his company’s plans for Clearwire. “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,” Hesse said. “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.”

Clearwire shares were trading dramatically down in Monday morning trading, nearly 12.5 percent down at a price of $2.95 per share at 10:30 a.m. Sprint was less than 1 percent down at $5.53 per share.

By  |  10:44 AM ET, 12/17/2012

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