Sprint may be closer to a complete purchase of Clearwire according to the latest report from CNBC’s David Faber. In the report first broadcast this afternoon and later transcribed online, Sprint is said to have been in active negotiations with Clearwire within the past few weeks to purchase the remaining 49%, though a deal is not expected until shortly after the close of the SoftBank stake purchase next year.
With the deal expected to be closed, this would put Sprint in a better position to continue its steadfast LTE rollout with Clearwire’s infrastructure and spectrum holdings making up the bulk of the expansion, as Sprint lags behind both Verizon and AT&T in terms of LTE coverage and availability. With Clearwire also needing capital in order to continue operations the deal is also being seen as the best alternative for the company, as it struggles to obtain any additional investment outside of what it has already received from Sprint and its remaining partners.
With Softbank soon to be in the picture, Sprint closing this deal at the same time would put it in a better long-term position in terms of LTE coverage, as it stands to offer comprehensive coverage across the country with key markets featuring higher speeds than even the highest speeds advertised by AT&T and Verizon, but this all hinges on Sprint being able to take Clearwire’s existing infrastructure and spectrum and develop it properly for future use.
Currently Sprint is offering key shareholders $3/share for Clearwire in order to make the deal happen by April of next year, though the remaining open market shares may be more expensive and the carrier may be forced to pay a slightly higher price for those shares, if the shareholders agree to the current offer. With the best case scenario looking to play itself out, Sprint may be in the best position its ever been in to completely own Clearwire, though anything can happen from now until the expected close of the Softbank deal in April.