McCaw's Eagle River sells 5M shares of Clearwire before company's earnings release

Eagle River Holdings, the investment arm of cellular mogul Craig McCaw, has sold 5 million shares of Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) stock in a block transaction at $5.15 per share on April 26.

The transaction leaves Eagle River with 30,992,958 shares. The net proceeds come in at more than $25 million. The move comes a week before Clearwire is expected to report its earnings on May 4. As BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk pointed out, McCaw has never sold a share of the Clearwire stock he owns, and he most recently purchases 2.7 million shares at $7.33 a share as part of the rights offering in June 2010.

"Eagle River is an important shareholder because we believe it retains rights under the shareholders agreement that require it's approval for a change of control under a standstill agreement between all the strategic partners," Piecyk wrote. "Eagle River is important to public shareholders because other strategic partners could presumably be incentivized to provide their consent to Sprint taking control of Clearwire at an unattractive stock price based on operational considerations that are not aligned with the public shareholders like a commitment to continue WiMAX for Intel or a very low wholesale rate for the cable companies.  We believe Eagle River does not forfeit its rights under the shareholder agreement unless it sells 50 percent of its position."

McCaw abruptly resigned from the Clearwire Board in December so he can trade shares whenever he wants, but the move is leaving industry watchers speculating on whether McCaw is short on cash.

For more:
- see this Forbes article

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