Time Warner Cable Dumps Clearwire Shares (TWC, CLWR, S, CMCSA, INTC, GOOG)

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In a Friday filing with the SEC, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) said it will sell its stake of 46.4 million shares of Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) either to other shareholders or, if they don’t want the shares, in the public markets. The other shareholders include Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), companies controlled by Craig McCaw, and privately held Bright House Networks.

Clearwire has lost several investors over the past several months, including Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG). According to The Wall Street Journal, Intel wrote down the full value of its 7.3% voting stake in Clearwire and Google took a loss of about $17 million on its original $500 million stake in the company.

Clearwire’s fourth-generation wireless network technology, called WiMax, did not take the market by storm. The company could not get the network built out quickly enough to stem the tide of 4G LTE networks. Clearwire is now converting its network to LTE, but the work is costly and takes time that the company does not have.

Based on yesterday’s closing stock price, Time Warner’s 46.4 million shares are worth about $73 million. The company originally paid $550 million for the shares. One analyst said the company already had written down its investment in Clearwire and would use proceeds from the sale to buy back shares.

Clearwire closed at $1.54 last night and shares lost another 2.6% in after-hours trading, to $1.50. The stock’s 52-week range is $0.83 to $2.66.

The full filing is available here.

Paul Ausick

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