Sprint boosts buyout offer for Clearwire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) has raised its buyout offer for the stake in Clearwire it does not already own by 14 percent.

Sprint said Tuesday that it is offering $3.40 per share for Clearwire Corp. Its previous offer, from December, was for $2.97 per share for the wireless data operator.

Sprint said this is its best and final offer. A vote on the previous offer had been scheduled for Tuesday, but Clearwire said it is postponing it until Thursday, May 30.

"Today's amendment to Sprint's offer to acquire Clearwire at a higher price delivers significantly more value to our stockholders as we work toward successfully closing this transaction," Clearwire said in a statement, adding that its board's special committee is reviewing the new offer.

Clearwire's main asset is its wireless spectrum -- space on the airwaves -- that could be used to provide high data download speeds. Those are a crucial competitive factor in today's wireless industry. But Clearwire's frequencies are difficult to use. They require many cell towers to cover an area, and the signals don't penetrate well into buildings.

Sprint is Clearwire's only major wholesale customer, and uses its network to provide "Sprint 4G" service.

Clearwire's (CLWR) shares rose 13 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $3.39 in morning trading. The stock is up more than 17 percent year to date.

Sprint's shares climbed 12 cents to $7.41.

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