US mobile carrier Sprint on Thursday raised its offer for wireless broadband provider Clearwire, topping a rival bid from the satellite television firm Dish Network.
Sprint, which is set to be acquired by Japanese mobile group Softbank, said it would pay US$5 a share for the 50 percent of Clearwire it does not already own, valuing the firm at US$14 billion.
The acquisition is seen as key to efforts by Sprint and Softbank to boost its US spectrum capacity to compete with bigger carriers Verizon and AT&T. Sprint is the third-largest US mobile carrier.
The new offer is 47 percent higher than Sprint’s previous offer of US$3.40 per share announced on May 21 and a 14 percent premium to the US$4.40 per share from Dish.
The move came a week after Clearwire said Dish had made a superior offer and urged its shareholders to accept it.
Dish is seeking Clearwire’s spectrum as part of an effort to build a company that could deliver a fully integrated nationwide bundle of video, television, broadband Internet and voice services.
A statement from Sprint and Clearwire said the latest offer was endorsed by key shareholders, including Comcast Corp, Intel Corp and Bright House Networks LLC, and that about 45 percent of the Clearwire voting shares not affiliated with Sprint have now agreed to the plan.
The companies said that if the deal is not completed, Clearwire will be required to pay a termination fee of US$115 million.
Clearwire said its shareholder meeting, which had been set for Monday, was rescheduled for July 8.
“The revised offer demonstrates Sprint’s commitment to closing the Clearwire transaction and improving its competitive position in the US wireless industry,” the statement said.
Sprint would like to acquire Clearwire’s spectrum and broadband WiMAX network, which is becoming more valuable with the surge in mobile Internet use.
At US$21.6 billion, the deal would mark the biggest overseas acquisition ever by a Japanese firm. Softbank had upped its offer last week by US$1.6 billion from an initial US$20 billion offer.