Report: Clearwire hopes to raise $5B by auctioning 40 MHz of spectrum

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) wants to sell some of its spectrum to raise between $2.5 billion and $5 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. The spectrum sale is intended to help the company bolster its financial position.

The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal, said that AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom and Clearwire investor Time Warner have expressed interest in acquiring the spectrum. So far the companies have engaged in two rounds of bidding, which is private and is being managed by Deutsche Bank, Bloomberg said.

A Clearwire spokesman declined to comment. Representatives from all of the companies involved either declined to comment or could not be reached for comment, according to Bloomberg.

Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said at an investor conference in September that Clearwire hoped to secure more money via an investment by a company like T-Mobile or an auction of its unneeded spectrum. In late 2009, the company raised well over $2 billion through debt and equity financing to fund its buildout plans. The company has said it is on track to cover 120 million POPs by year-end with mobile WiMAX.

A spectrum sale would be a last-ditch effort to raise money; Clearwire has long argued its vast spectrum holdings help set it apart from rivals like Verizon and AT&T, which are building LTE networks. Clearwire has around 120 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5-2.6 GHz band in most of its markets. Bloomberg reported Clearwire is looking to sell of 40 MHz of spectrum in its markets. Verizon and AT&T are using mainly 700 MHz spectrum for their LTE buildouts.

T-Mobile and Clearwire have been holding discussions about whether the nation's No. 4 carrier will become a wholesale partner of Clearwire. Sprint, meanwhile, retains a 54 percent stake in Clearwire, but has decided not to purchase the rest of the company right now.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg report

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