Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR, news, filings) filed a preliminary proxy statement related to the proposed merger with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings), but it left pretty much everything hanging where it has been since Dish made its unsolicited bid of $3.30. Things have gotten increasingly complicated of late, as the DOJ has asked the FCC not to decide until it makes its own decision in light of national security concerns and such.
Clearwire didn’t take the first round of financing from Sprint because it would have killed the Dish offer, and it suggests that it can’t agree to some of Dish’s proposed contractual arrangements without violating its other contracts (meaning with Sprint mostly). Their board’s special committee is still considering the Dish offer, but on the other hand Sprint issued a parallel announcement stating its pleasure that the board continues to recommend approval of its $2.97 offer.
Which means that… Well, it means pretty much nothing more than Clearwire is ‘still thinking’, as are the Feds, while both Softbank/Sprint and Dish are mostly just waiting for them to get on with it already. The rest of us too actually.
I continue to maintain that what Dish wants is not to win the purchase of Clearwire, but rather to kill the deal and force Sprint into a joint venture whose wholesale network gets funded by both. Sprint has no intention of selling out to Dish and they know it, as Softbank’s rationale for taking control of Sprint was in no small part related to Clearwire’s spectrum. So they’re throwing red meat to Clearwire’s shareholders, and you know that if Sprint raises its bid then Dish probably will keep the pressure on by making another higher ‘unbinding’ approach.