Clearwire Plans $300M Stock Offering To Fund LTE Buildout

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Clearwire plans to raise up to $300 million in a public stock offering to help fund the buildout of Long Term Evolution technology to augment its current WiMax network, the cash-strapped wireless broadband provider said Monday.

Sprint Nextel, Clearwire's majority owner with a 49.6% voting stake, has agreed to purchase Class B shares to maintain its voting interest. Last week Sprint and Clearwire reached an agreement that potentially could provide up to $1.6 billion in payments and funding to Clearwire over the next four years.

In after-hours trading Monday, Clearwire's shares fell 4.4%, to $2.15 per share.

Clearwire will soon lose two of its wholesale partners -- Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which also are investors in the wireless provider. The MSOs within six months will no longer offer wireless broadband services through Clearwire, and instead Comcast and TWC will exclusively resell Verizon Wireless products and services.

That's under the terms of an agreement announced last week, under which Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are selling their 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses for $3.6 billion to Verizon Wireless. After four years the cable operators will be able to offer the carrier's services under their own brands (as "mobile virtual network operators," or MVNOs).

On Monday, Comcast Cable president Neil Smit said at an investor conference that the MSO intends to retain its stake in Clearwire.

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