Clearwire’s minority shareholders, as expected, voted in favour of Sprint’s $5 per-share takeover offer at a special meeting held yesterday (8 July).
After a lengthy bidding war with Dish Network, which saw the Clearwire board switch its allegiance more than once as Sprint and Dish each upped their offers, the third-largest operator in the US now has full ownership of Clearwire and its valuable spectrum assets.
It paves the way for Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank – which is due to complete its takeover of Sprint tomorrow (10 July) – to mount an even stronger assault on the US mobile market.
“The biggest reason Sprint wanted to gain full control of Clearwire is because of the spectrum that Clearwire has,” David Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co, told Bloomberg. “When you look at Sprint and Clearwire on a combined basis, the deal will effectively give Sprint more spectrum than AT&T and Verizon.”
In a statement, Clearwire said 82 per cent of minority shareholders voted in favour of the Sprint offer, which allows the mobile operator to snap up the 49.8 per cent of Clearwire it doesn’t already own.
Sprint’s $5 per-share offer trumped an earlier $4.40 per-share bid from Dish, prompting the US satellite TV broadcaster to withdraw from the Clearwire race.
“We are pleased that our stockholders recognise the value and merits of our merger with Sprint,” said Erik Prusch, Clearwire’s chief executive.
Cleawire and Sprint expect to close the merger today (9 July).