UPDATE 1-Sprint raises offer for Clearwire to $5/share
NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp raised its buyout offer for Clearwire Corp to $5 per share on Thursday, trumping a $4.40 per share offer from Dish Network Corp.
Clearwire changed its recommendation in favor of the Sprint offer after the price increase and postponed a June 24 shareholder vote until July 8.
Sprint and Dish have been fighting for control of Clearwire, which has vast troves of valuable wireless airwaves that both companies want to use to help them compete in the wireless services market.
Sprint, already Clearwire's majority shareholder, raised its bid just a few days before shareholders in the smaller wireless company were due to vote on its previous $3.40 per share offer.
Shareholders had complained that Sprint's offer was too low even before Dish made its counterbid. Analysts and investors had said that Sprint would need to raise its bid or risk a contentious relationship with Dish as a minority shareholder.
Dish was not immediately available for comment.
The news came just two days after Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen decided to back out, at least for now, from a battle with Japan's SoftBank Corp to buy Sprint itself.
Sprint shares were up 14 cents, or 2 percent, to $7.14 on the New York Stock Exchange after the news. Clearwire rose 8 cents to $4.78 on Nasdaq on Thursday afternoon before its stock was halted ahead of the news.