Sprint announced today that it will acquire the 50% of Clearwire that the company does not already own. Sprint will pay $2.97 per share of Clearwire, spending $2.2 billion for the purchase. The transaction puts Clearwire's value at around $10 billion.
“Our board of directors has been reviewing available strategic alternatives over the course of the last two years," said Erik Prusch, CEO and president of Clearwire. "In evaluating available alternatives, a special committee conducted a careful and rigorous process, and based on the committee’s recommendation, our board unanimously determined that this transaction, which delivers certain and attractive value for our shareholders, is the best path forward.”
Along with its purchase of U.S. Cellular spectrum and customers back in November, this acquisition could be seen as Sprint's reaction to T-Mobile's recent merger. T-Mobile's acquisition of Metro PCS raised its subscription numbers to within striking distance of Sprint's. Sprint announced a total subscription numbers decline in its third quarter earnings report, along with a $767 million net loss.
Sprint and T-Mobile are currently the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the U.S., behind AT&T and Verizon. This year they began to offer unlimited data plans that are not offered by the larger carriers. Both companies are currently building out their nationwide 4G LTE networks, and their acquisitions will provide them with the extra spectrum and assets to take on a greater numbers of subscribers.
“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," said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. "Sprint is uniquely positioned to maximize the value of Clearwire’s spectrum and efficiently deploy it to increase Sprint’s network capacity. 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.”