Sprint in Talks About Clearwire Buyout

Sprint Nextel is in talks with cable companies about a possible investment that may lead to an acquisition of partner Clearwire Corp., Reuters reported Friday, citing a Bloomberg story. Sprint, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable are all investors in Clearwire. The talks are around ways to provide funding to Clearwire so it can build out its high-speed wireless network, Reuters wrote.

(Reuters) – Sprint Nextel Corp is in talks with cable companies about a possible investment that may lead to an acquisition of partner Clearwire Corp , Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the talks.

Sprint, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc , which are already investors in Clearwire along with Bright House Networks LLC, are discussing ways to provide funding to the loss-making company so it can build out its high-speed wireless network, the report said.

Bill White, a spokesman for Sprint, told Bloomberg that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. Sprint could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

Earlier in August, Kirkland, Washington-based Clearwire unveiled a plan to upgrade its network with Long Term Evolution (LTE) — an emerging high-speed technology. Its hope is that Sprint and other companies would rent space on its LTE network to bolster their services.

The discussions involve various scenarios, including a Clearwire buyout or an investment in the company through Sprint, the report said.

The size and timing of the investment in Sprint have not yet been determined, the people told Bloomberg.

Cox Communications Inc and Cablevision Systems Corp have also been in discussions with Sprint, two of the people told Bloomberg.

Spokespersons for Clearwire, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Cablevision also declined to comment in the report.

Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint closed down 6.2 percent at $3.49 on Thuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Clearwire’s shares closed at $2.31 on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)