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Sprint files lawsuit against Dish and Clearwire

June 17, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • Sprint has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Dish from acquiring Clearwire.
Sprint has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Dish from acquiring Clearwire. (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg )

The complicated battle for Clearwire is growing more contentious. 

Four days after Clearwire's board backed a takeover by Dish Network Corp., original bidder Sprint Nextel announced that it had filed a complaint in a Delaware court against Dish and Clearwire seeking to stop a deal from happening.

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"Sprint believes the transaction violates Delaware law and the rights of both Sprint and Clearwire’s other strategic investors under Clearwire’s charter and under the Equity Holders Agreement," Sprint said in a statement. "In addition to seeking to enjoin the tender offer, Sprint’s lawsuit seeks to rescind certain parts of the tender offer agreement and seeks declaratory, injunctive, compensatory and other relief."

The news marks the latest in the back-and-forth fight over wireless network operator Clearwire that has dragged on for months.

In December, Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint -- which owned about 51% of Clearwire -- said it had struck a deal to pay $2.2 billion to acquire the rest of Clearwire. Sprint would gain wireless spectrum in the deal, helping it compete with larger wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T.

Then in January, Dish made an unsolicited offer to buy the company for $3.30 a share, or $5.15 billion.

Although Sprint sweetened its offer by 14% in May, Clearwire's board favored the Dish bid.

To make matters more confusing, Sprint -- which last fall agreed to sell 70% of itself to Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank Corp. for $20 billion -- received a takeover bid by Dish for $25.5-billion in April.

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