Clearwire Shares Rise on Hope

The $20.1 billion that Japan's SoftBank Corp. has agreed to pay for a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) does not include any condition that Sprint increase its stake in Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) beyond its current 49% holding. So said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

Investors appear to believe otherwise. Clearwire's shares skyrocketed nearly 75% following the rumors last week of a SoftBank-Sprint deal. And Clearwire's shares are rising again this morning.

The belief, apparently, is that Clearwire's spectrum suddenly has become more valuable or that SoftBank will want it and is willing to pay big bucks for it or something. One thought is that Sprint will use its newly found riches to help build out Clearwire's network. Maybe, but Sprint is still choking on its own debt from the Nextel acquisition, and it might want to hold onto some of that cash in the event that its iPhone sales fail to reach the levels the company expects. Clearwire should finish no better than third in a race for SoftBank's cash.

Clearwire shares are up 16% in premarket trading this morning, at $2.68 in a 52-week range of $0.83 to $2.64. A new 52-week high is on the horizon.

Paul Ausick