Sprint’s bid to acquire the remaining shares of Clearwire that made news last week is now official. The final deal has Sprint offering $2.2 billion in cash, which works out to $2.97 per share, along with $800 million in funding to keep Clearwire operating. This is good news for the struggling Clearwire, whose inability to attract wholesale customers has significantly impacted the wireless provider’s growth.
On its side, Sprint gets to take on Clearwire’s $5.5 billion in debt. That’s a price worth paying for the third largest mobile wireless provider in the U.S., which stands to gain access to Clearwire’s subscriber base covering 88 markets and 134 million potential subscribers. Sprint also gets Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz spectrum assets to expand its own 4G LTE network. The deal will clear up some internal issues over the operation of the two companies due to Sprint previously owning only a slight majority of Clearwire.
Though Sprint has referred to the deal as definitive, there are still some steps before the transaction is completed. Regulatory approval is necessary, a step that can’t be overlooked as it scuttled AT&T’s recent attempt to buy T-Mobile. If approved, it is likely the deal will still have to wait until Softbank’s purchase of 70% of Sprint is settled, though Softbank itself has approved the purchase of Clearwire. As mobile wireless providers continue to search for ways to grow, the pace of acquisitions is likely to accelerate into the future.