Reality Sets in at Clearwire

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Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) is set to be acquired under part of the Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) virtual takeover by Softbank in Japan. Not so fast. We warned that a deal might not come for Clearwire, or at least that there was no obligation to pay higher and higher as speculators ran up the price of poker.

Now we have Clearwire in the gutter on a report out of Bloomberg saying that Sprint has no immediate plans to acquire Clearwire. The investment by Softbank likely will not get final regulatory approvals until next year, and this likely locks up the companies from doing much structural change between now and then.

When we were analyzing the options trading, the prices at the end of last week were looking like an implied $2.30 or $2.35. Yesterday shares briefly were above $2.90 as the speculators drove shares way too high.

Another concern we had over any such merger was that the cadre of analysts that covers Clearwire had only a $2.20 consensus price target, according to Thomson Reuters. The range of price targets was $1.00 to $4,00 as well.

We cannot help but to go back to the formal disclosure made and scratch our heads over why investors were so caught up over a potential deal yesterday. Sprint’s release stated clearly, “The transaction does not require Sprint to take any actions involving Clearwire Corporation other than those set forth in agreements Sprint has previously entered into with Clearwire and certain of its shareholders.”

Clearwire shares are tanking in the premarket. Shares closed at $2.69 on Monday and the shares are down 19% at $2.17 in the early trading. Be advised that Clearwire has traded over 100 million shares a day for each of the past three trading sessions. The only other recent time we have seen 100 million shares trade was last December 8.

JON C. OGG

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