BELLEVUE, Wash., Jan. 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clearwire (Nasdaq:CLWR) today announced that it has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal (the "DISH Proposal") from DISH Network Corporation ("DISH"). The DISH Proposal, as further summarized below, provides for DISH to purchase certain spectrum assets from Clearwire, enter into a commercial agreement with Clearwire, acquire up to all of Clearwire's common stock for $3.30 per share (subject to minimum ownership of at least 25% and granting of certain governance rights) and provide Clearwire with financing on specified terms.
The DISH Proposal is only a preliminary indication of interest and is subject to numerous, material uncertainties and conditions, including the negotiation of multiple contractual arrangements being requested by DISH (some of which, as currently proposed, may not be permitted under the terms of Clearwire's current legal and contractual obligations). It is also subject to regulatory approval.
As previously announced on December 17, 2012, Clearwire has entered into a definitive agreement with Sprint Nextel Corporation ("Sprint") for Sprint to acquire the approximately 50 percent stake in Clearwire it does not already own for $2.97 per share (the "Sprint Agreement"). Clearwire's ability to enter into strategic transactions is significantly limited by its current contractual arrangements, including the Sprint Agreement and its existing Equityholders' Agreement.
The Special Committee of the Clearwire Board of Directors (the "Special Committee") has determined that its fiduciary duties require it to engage with DISH to discuss, negotiate and/or provide information in connection with the DISH Proposal. The Special Committee has not made any determination to change its recommendation of the current Sprint transaction. Consistent with its obligations under the Sprint Agreement, Clearwire has provided Sprint with notice, and the material terms, of the DISH Proposal, and received a response from Sprint that is described below.
DISH had, prior to the announcement of the Sprint Agreement, provided Clearwire with a preliminary indication of interest solely with respect to acquiring certain of Clearwire's spectrum assets, on substantially the same pricing per MHz-POP as the spectrum purchase included in the DISH Proposal described below, and entering into a commercial agreement. Although Clearwire worked with DISH prior to the execution of the Sprint Agreement to improve the overall terms of that proposal, the Special Committee of the Clearwire Board determined that the Sprint transaction was, for a number of reasons, a more-attractive alternative for Clearwire's non-Sprint Class A stockholders than a transaction with DISH at that time and on the terms then-proposed by DISH.
Summary of DISH Proposal
The following is a summary of the material terms of the proposal:
In connection with the Sprint Agreement, Clearwire and Sprint also entered into agreements that provide up to $800 million of additional financing to Clearwire in the form of exchangeable notes, which will be exchangeable under certain conditions for Clearwire common stock at $1.50 per share, subject to adjustment under certain conditions (the "Sprint Financing Agreements"). Under the Sprint Financing Agreements, Sprint has agreed to purchase, at Clearwire's option, $80 million of exchangeable notes per month for up to 10 months beginning on January 2, 2013. The DISH Proposal indicates that it will be withdrawn if Clearwire draws on the financing under the Sprint Financing Agreements. As a result, in order to allow the Special Committee to evaluate the DISH Proposal, at the direction of the Special Committee, Clearwire has revoked its initial draw notice and has not received the first $80 million under the Sprint Financing Agreements. The Special Committee has not made any determination with respect to any future draws under the Sprint Financing Agreements.
Summary of Sprint Response to DISH Proposal
In response to the DISH Proposal, Clearwire has received a letter from Sprint stating, among other things, that Sprint has reviewed the DISH Proposal and believes that it is illusory, inferior to the Sprint transaction and not viable because it cannot be implemented in light of Clearwire's current legal and contractual obligations. Sprint has stated that the Sprint Agreement would prohibit Clearwire from entering into agreements for much of the DISH Proposal. The following is a summary of Sprint's statements in its letter regarding the material terms of the DISH Proposal:
The Special Committee will, consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its independent financial and legal advisors, continue to evaluate the DISH Proposal and the letter from Sprint and discuss them with each of DISH and Sprint, as appropriate. The Special Committee and Clearwire will pursue the course of action that is in the best interests of Clearwire's non-Sprint Class A stockholders. Neither Clearwire nor the Special Committee has any further comment on this matter at this time.
Evercore Partners is acting as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as counsel to Clearwire. Centerview Partners is acting as financial advisor and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. are acting as counsel to Clearwire's special committee.
Clearwire Corporation (Nasdaq:CLWR), through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services offering services in areas of the U.S. where more than 130 million people live. The company holds the deepest portfolio of wireless spectrum available for data services in the U.S. Clearwire serves retail customers through its own CLEAR® brand as well as through wholesale relationships with some of the leading companies in the retail, technology and telecommunications industries, including Sprint and NetZero. The company is constructing a next-generation 4G LTE Advanced-ready network to address the capacity needs of the market, and is also working closely with the Global TDD-LTE Initiative to further the TDD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. Additional information is available at http://www.clearwire.com.
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Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the securities laws. The words "may," "could," "should," "estimate," "project," "forecast," "intend," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "target," "plan," "providing guidance" and similar expressions are intended to identify information that is not historical in nature.
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the proposed merger and related transactions (the "transaction") between Sprint and Clearwire. All statements, other than historical facts, including statements regarding the expected timing of the closing of the transaction; the ability of the parties to complete the transaction considering the various closing conditions; the expected benefits and synergies of the transaction; the competitive ability and position of Sprint and Clearwire; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon current plans, estimates and expectations that are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The inclusion of such statements should not be regarded as a representation that such plans, estimates or expectations will be achieved. You should not place undue reliance on such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such plans, estimates or expectations include, among others, any conditions imposed in connection with the transaction, approval of the transaction by Clearwire stockholders, the satisfaction of various other conditions to the closing of the transaction contemplated by the merger agreement, and other factors discussed in Clearwire's and Sprint's Annual Reports on Form 10-K for their respective fiscal years ended December 31, 2011, their other respective filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") and the proxy statement and other materials that will be filed with the SEC by Clearwire in connection with the transaction. There can be no assurance that the transaction will be completed, or if it is completed, that it will close within the anticipated time period or that the expected benefits of the transaction will be realized.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the transaction, Clearwire will file a proxy statement and other materials with the SEC. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE ADVISED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER RELEVANT MATERIALS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT CLEARWIRE AND THE TRANSACTION. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of these documents (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. In addition, the documents filed by Clearwire with the SEC may be obtained free of charge by contacting Clearwire at Clearwire, Attn: Investor Relations, (425) 505-6494. Clearwire's filings with the SEC are also available on its website at http://www.clearwire.com.
Participants in the Solicitation
Clearwire and its officers and directors and Sprint and its officers and directors may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Clearwire stockholders with respect to the transaction. Information about Clearwire officers and directors and their ownership of Clearwire common shares is set forth in the proxy statement for Clearwire's 2012 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 30, 2012. Information about Sprint officers and directors is set forth in Sprint's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, which was filed with the SEC on February 27, 2012. Investors and security holders may obtain more detailed information regarding the direct and indirect interests of the participants in the solicitation of proxies in connection with the transaction by reading the preliminary and definitive proxy statements regarding the transaction, which will be filed by Clearwire with the SEC.
CONTACT: Media Contacts: Susan Johnston, (425) 505-6178 email@example.com JLM Partners for Clearwire Mike DiGioia or Jeremy Pemble, (206) 381-3600 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher for Clearwire Joele Frank or Andy Brimmer, (212) 355-4449 Investor Contacts: Alice Ryder, (425) 505-6494 firstname.lastname@example.org MacKenzie Partners for Clearwire Dan Burch or Laurie Connell, (212) 929-5500 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org