Clearwire is considering defaulting on a $255 million interest payment due in June, which is based on nearly $4.5 billion in debt.
Clearwire in December agreed to let Sprint acquire the 50 percent of the company it doesn’t already own for $2.97 per share. That deal has come into some question following Dish’s $25.5 billion offer to merge with Sprint. Sprint had previously agreed to allow Japanese carrier Softbank to acquire 70 percent of its company for approximately $20 billion. The inflow of cash from Softbank was being funneled toward the offer to buy Clearwire.
Cash-strapped Clearwire has seen recent offers of funding from minority shareholder Crest Financial Limited and hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management LP, totaling $240 million. These offers were extends as alternatives to the $800 million in funding Sprint has offered Clearwire as the company’s board considers Sprint’s offer. In Friday’s proxy filing, Clearwire said that Sprint, a majority shareholder, has the right to block such offers.
But Clearwire revealed another possible source of income, stating that an unnamed “strategic buyer” had offered between $1 and $1.5 billion to purchase certain spectrum leases. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported the bidder is Verizon. If true, Verizon could face strong opposition to such a deal from Sprint.