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Clearwire payment due tomorrow. What will Sprint do?


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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 30 November 2011

 

 

I wonder how long these two are going to keep fueding and playing these games of brinkmanship. Sprint can'r afford to let Clear go into bankruptcy, but IMO this can't continue mush longer. What do you guy's think Sprint should do?

 

 

Clearwire Weighs Keeping Cash or Creditor Support With Payment

 

Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), facing a $237 million interest payment tomorrow, will have to decide between conserving cash to fund its wireless business or satisfying creditors the company may need for financing in the future.

 

The wireless broadband company, with almost $700 million in cash and short-term investments at the end of September, has the money to cover the payment. Still, making the payment would cut into capital at Clearwire, which has said it needs about $1 billion to fund operations and transition to faster wireless technology. The company can exercise a 30-day grace period if it wants to push back the decision.

 

The company will probably pay the money because it doesn’t want to alienate investors it may need to tap for additional capital, said David Novosel, an analyst at Gimme Credit LLC.

“The idea of an equity infusion or raising debt is highly unlikely given the status of the company and the capital markets environment” if they don’t pay, Novosel, who is based in

Chicago, said in an interview.

 

One consideration that may play into the decision is whether Clearwire can complete negotiations for a new network- sharing agreement with

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) Sprint, which is the largest shareholder in Clearwire and its largest wholesale customer, hasn’t committed to extending their existing agreement beyond 2012. A new agreement with Sprint would put Clearwire on more stable financial ground and may help it raise capital.

‘All Nervous’

 

Clearwire, based in Bellevue,

Washington, may be pressuring Sprint for a new wholesale agreement before it decides whether to make the payment, said Ping Zhao, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in New York. A failure or delay in paying creditors would indicate that the two aren’t close to reaching a deal, she said.

 

“Right now Sprint is learning that if you don’t play nice, everyone gets all nervous,” Zhao said in an interview. “Usually what’s good for Clearwire is bad for Sprint. That’s the holdup.”

Mike DiGioia, a spokesman for Clearwire, and

Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Sprint, had no comment.

 

Clearwire Chief Executive Officer Erik Prusch told the Wall Street Journal this month the company was evaluating whether to pay the interest. The “very expensive payment” to creditors would be a “significant drain” on cash, he said.

 

Sprint would have the most to lose in a Clearwire bankruptcy, Zhao said. Sprint, which buys wireless capacity wholesale from Clearwire and resells the service to its customers, may lose access to that spectrum in a restructuring, when creditors gain influence. Creditors may push to sell off Clearwire’s wireless spectrum to the highest bidder, making it more challenging for Sprint to serve its customers, she said.

Spectrum Value

 

Clearwire’s spectrum assets are worth more than the company’s debt, which totaled more than $4 billion at the end of September, Zhao said. Creditors will likely do fine if the company can sell off its assets, she said.

 

Investors demand a 20 percent yield to hold a Clearwire bond maturing in December 2015. That compares with the bond’s 9.2 percent yield on May 24, the year’s low. Clearwire is rated CCC by

Standard & Poor’s, which means it is dependent on economic conditions to access debt markets. Most of Clearwire’s debt is due in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

S&P has said it could downgrade the company’s rating to D, for default, if it doesn’t pay within the first five days. Allyn Arden, an S&P analyst, said paying creditors would leave Clearwire only $350 million to $400 million for next year’s operations.

 

“It would still have to raise significant capital to maintain operations in 2012 despite the cost-reduction measures it has already achieved,” Arden said in a statement.

Clearwire’s decision on the payment will be a sign of how hard it’s willing to push Sprint, said Gordon McKay, an analyst at Marret Asset Management.

 

“It’s a strategic decision,” McKay said in an interview. “Do they want to escalate this process? Do they want to signal to the market that they’re willing to default if they can’t get funding soon?

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 30 November 2011

 

I wonder if the whole point of Sprint not responding to Clearwire games is that Sprint is hopeful that this game chicken will drive Clear's value as close to zero as possible(which possibility will drive down Sprint value). Maybe they're trying to aquire the rest of Clearwire?

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 1 December 2011

 

Yep, looks like Sprint is going to keep the shipwreck afloat for a couple of more years. At least Clear will support WiMax for Sprint (as expected) for several more years so those who have WiMax phones will not be left in the dust. And Clear has the funding to get started its rollout to LTE.

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 1 December 2011

 

Clear needs to clean house on ALL their upper management. This company holds the golden ticket with a wireless company buying mass quantities of their wireless internet and they are still on a nosedive into the dirt. Sprint has to be impressed with the money pit they bought into...

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 1 December 2011

 

This is probably the best and cheapest course of action for Sprint to take with Clearwire. Using Clearwire for extra capacity is a good move for Sprint. But will cause Clearwire to make less money over time. Because Sprint will use it's own network for the majority of it's 4G LTE and only use Clearwire's in places where it needs more. And since the new agreement fees are paid based on usage and not per user, Clearwire is going to rake in even less money from Sprint.

 

If Clearwire doesn't start getting more wholesale customers than just Sprint, than Clearwire is going to be in even worse financial shape in 2015.

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 1 December 2011

 

It doesn't appear so. In fact, Sprint says they will even offer more equity funding, but only if others do too. Because they want to maintain their 49.6% share. They don't want to own any more of Clearwire than that.

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Migrated from Original Forum. Originally Posted 2 December 2011

 

At least control the board. What is Sprint's endgame?

 

I think Sprint is going to keep Clear on life support for the time being. This new deal will give Clear some breathing room for the next couple of years, but Sprint is telling them they have to drum up more business and financing to get the LTE incentives. It's to bad Sprint can't afford to buy Clear but with all their cash and credit tied up with Apple and NV, Sprint will have to continue to be the white knight and prop Clear up.

 

I find it sad that LightSquared doesn't even have a network up and they can sign customers. Clear has a network and is transitioning and they can't sign anyone of any significance. That in itself shows that Clear's mgmt is inept. After Sprint gets out of their financial hole, they really need to take over Clear.

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