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Clearwire set to issue $1.1B in debt

Thu, 12/02/2010 - 7:25am
Brian Santo

Clearwire plans to raise in excess of $1.1 billion through the offering of debt securities in private placement transactions.

Clearwire has acknowledged being strapped for cash, and none of its current investors, including majority owner Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Google and Intel, seem eager to volunteer more funds, although any of them could participate in the debt offering.

The proceeds would help finance operations, including the company's ongoing build-out of its 4G WiMAX network, at least through the end of 2011.

Clearwire said it is offering $175 million first-priority senior secured notes due 2015, $500 million of second-priority secured notes due 2017 and $500 million of exchangeable notes due 2040.

It said it will grant the initial purchasers of the exchangeable notes an option to purchase up to an additional $100 million of exchangeable notes. Upon exchange, Clearwire Communications may deliver either shares of Class A common stock of Clearwire Corp. or cash.

Separately, Clearwire keeps working to make the Clear service more attractive. The company has just introduced a home gateway – a WiMAX modem with integrated Wi-Fi router.

Clear service plans include unlimited data usage and start at $35 a month.

Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer at Clearwire, said, "Our new Clear Modem with Wi-Fi makes it easier than ever to connect the Wi-Fi devices that customers already have at home, such as laptops and desktops, tablets, iPods and smartphones, without needing a wired connection to the cable or phone company."

The product can be purchased for $120 or leased for $7 a month.

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