Contact: Ben Kolada
Eager to enter the cellular market, DISH Network has announced that it is interested in acquiring Clearwire for $3.30 per share, or about $4.8bn. The deal is actually a ‘take two’ for DISH, and shows the company’s desire (desperation?) to enter the wireless market. However, the market for wireless spectrum is so tight that those with such assets aren’t likely to sell them.
With mobile bandwidth consumption exploding, wireless spectrum is among the most coveted assets by wireless carriers. Over the past two years, there have been a handful of high-priced spectrum acquisitions announced by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. The DISH proposal values Clearwire’s spectrum at $2.2bn.
DISH’s desperation to enter the wireless market is apparent in the fact that it previously tried to acquire some of Clearwire’s spectrum assets before Sprint announced that it would buy the remainder of Clearwire it didn’t already own. Obviously, the DISH-Clearwire deal never came to fruition, and the new transaction is likely to fail as well for the same reason.
This time around, spectrum is again at the top of the list of concerns. In responding to the offer, Clearwire issued a press release summarizing a list of Sprint’s objections. First and foremost, Sprint argues that its pending agreement with Clearwire prohibits the company from selling spectrum assets without Sprint’s consent.
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