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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 17, 2012 at 6:17 PM

The Sprint-Clearwire drama continues

More evidence is surfacing that Sprint is not in any rush to buy out Bellevue-based Clearwire.

But it is apparently trying to rejigger its relationship with Clearwire, according to anonymously sourced reports that surfaced late Wednesday.

Bloomberg reported that Sprint is buying out the Clearwire stake held by founder Craig McCaw’s Eagle River Holdings investment company. That will give Sprint another 4.5 percent of Clearwire, in addition to its current 48 percent stake, according to the Bloomberg story.

Simultaneously, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint was angling for control of Clearwire’s board. The maneuvers “would give Sprint the ability to appoint a majority of directors and control the company without acquiring it,” the Journal reported.

It’s a quick flexing of the financial muscles that Sprint gained this week from the $20 billion investment in the carrier by Tokyo-based SoftBank.

Sprint’s moves would give the company more certainty in its long and sometimes tense partnership with Clearwire. They would also make it easier to acquire the company outright if it decides to do so eventually.

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