Sprint Nextel raises its bid for Clearwire

Sprint Nextel raised its buyout offer for Clearwire to $5 per share on Thursday and announced support from a key group of dissident shareholders, trumping rival suitor Dish Network.

Sprint, already Clearwire’s majority shareholder, also had Clearwire agree to changes in its governance rules, which could make it much harder for a rival bidder to buy the company.

After the new offer, which was the result of Clearwire shareholder pressure and a rival bid from Dish, Clearwire changed its recommendation in favor of the Sprint deal and postponed a June 24 shareholder vote until July 8.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, said the new bid gives Clearwire an enterprise value of more than $14 billion, or a roughly 14 percent premium over the value implied by Dish’s bid to buy the minority shares for $4.40 each.

The latest offer will be the second time Sprint raised its bid since its December agreement to buy Clearwire’s minority shares for $2.97 each.

Dish and Sprint have been fighting publicly over Clearwire since January. Clearwire has vast troves of valuable wireless airwaves that both companies want to use to help them compete in the wireless services market.

— Reuters

Facebook to add video to Instagram

Facebook is adding video to its popular photo-sharing app Instagram, following in the heels of Twitter’s growing video-sharing app, Vine.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said Thursday that users will be able to record and share 15-second clips by tapping a video icon in the app. They can also apply filters to videos to add contrast or to make them black-and-white or other hues.

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love, but it moves,” he said at an event held at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

Vine, which launched in January, has 13 million users and lets people create and share six-second video clips. Instagram has 100 million users, up from 20 million when Facebook bought the company more than a year ago. If users like it, Facebook’s move could propel mobile video-sharing into the mainstream.

To use the video feature, Instagram users can tap on the same camera icon they use to snap photos. The app will record as long as your finger is on the red button or for 15 seconds, whichever comes first. Not unlike Vine, taking your finger off the button will stop the recording, allowing you to shoot the scene from a different angle or record something else altogether. Once you have 15 seconds of footage, you can play it from the beginning and post it on Instagram to share.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

l  Delta Air Lines won key approvals from antitrust regulators on Thursday for its deal to buy a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. Both the Justice Department and the European Commission said the deal does not pose an antitrust threat. They concluded that Delta and Virgin Atlantic will still be competing against a strong alliance between American Airlines and British Airways, as well as other airlines. The deal still needs approval from the U.S. Transportation Department, which Delta hopes to get this year.

l  Samsung Electronics introduced its first tablet that can run both Microsoft’s Windows 8 and applications based on Google’s Android software. The ATIV Q tablet will let users share files between Windows 8 and Android applications, Samsung said at an event to unveil the new device in London on Thursday. The hinged device also has a keyboard that lets the tablet operate like a laptop.

l  Twitter executive Nicole Wong is joining the Obama administration as deputy chief technology officer, the White House said in a statement Thursday. Wong, who has been Twitter’s legal director of products since November, will be working on Internet privacy and technology issues, according to a spokesman for the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

l  The Federal Trade Commission should gather information about the business practices of “patent assertion entities,” known as patent trolls, to see whether they are hurting competition, commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Thursday. Patent trolls are companies that buy the intellectual property of others and seek money from companies that infringe upon the patents. The formation of these entities could trigger antitrust concerns, Ramirez said at an event hosted by the Computer & Communications Industry Association and American Antitrust Institute.

l  Oracle, the largest maker of database software, reported sales that missed estimates as customers switched to Internet-based cloud systems, curbing their reliance on the company’s servers, databases and related programs. Earnings excluding some items for the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in May, were 87 cents a share on sales of $11 billion, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company said in a statement. That compares with analysts’ average projection for profit of 87 cents a share on revenue of $11.1 billion.

— From news services

Coming Today

l  Earnings: CarMax, Darden Restaurants.