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Sprint's Clearwire stake dips below 50%

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:33pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint's stake in Clearwire has dropped past the 50 percent mark, allowing the operator to increase its voting rights without taking on Clearwire's default risk.

Sprint sold off 77.4 million voting shares last June to reduce its liability for Clearwire's debt should the company go into bankruptcy, since its majority stake in Clearwire made it vulnerable to claims from creditors.

Recent fundraising efforts by Clearwire have reduced Sprint's economic interest in the company to below 50 percent, from 54 percent a year ago. The change allowed the company to reclaim full voting rights while avoiding cross-default risk.

"Given recent equity issuances by Clearwire, Sprint’s economic interest has declined to below 50 percent," a Sprint spokesman said today. "Now that our economic interest has fallen below 50 percent, we are reclaiming our full voting rights so that our voting rights and economic rights are once again aligned."

Sprint has bought back all of the shares it gave up a year ago, according to a document Clearwire filed this morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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