2012: A Winning Year for Clearwire


In these waning days of 2011, there's a chill in the air and snow in the forecast. What better time of year to curl up by the fire and ponder: What went wrong with the stocks you picked back in January? What went right? And should you keep these stocks in your portfolio, or go out and find something new?

That's what we aim to do today, as we flip back the calendar, and consider the year that was at Clearwire .

A few Foolish facts about Clearwire

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Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

What happened at Clearwire this year?
Clearwire entered 2012 as a basket case, but it's exiting the year (and in all likelihood, the stock market) on a high note. When partner Sprint Nextel inked an alliance with LightSquared to run its 4G cell phone service last year, Clearwire shares dropped 24% in a day, and spent the rest of the year struggling to recover.

Hope returned to Clearwire shareholders in January, when LightSquared failed to obtain FCC clearance for its hybrid satellite and ground station LTE network, giving Clearwire shares a new lease on life. A month later, Google announced it was liquidating its stake in the company. Combined with poor "earnings" (if you can call continual reports of GAAP losses and cash-burn "earnings"), Clearwire's rally was soon cut short.

And so it went for Clearwire all year long -- down one day, and up the next -- as press releases and rumors of buyouts took the place of what drives the share price of more ordinary companies: profits. Mercifully, that all came to an end last week, when on Thursday, Sprint Nextel announced it would put an end to Clearwire shareholders' misery, and buy the company for $2.1 billion.

Or did it? News that Sprint would acquire the 49% of Clearwire it didn't already own sent the shares up 14% Thursday, and a further 6% Friday. Curiously, this now leaves Clearwire shares selling for more than Sprint has said it will pay for them. Are investors hoping Sprint will up its bid out of the goodness of its heart? Or is there another bidder out there, waiting in the wings? AT&T or Verizon perhaps? Bueller? Bueller?

It seems unlikely these companies would abandon their own LTE networks in favor of Clearwire, which only Sprint actually uses. But if we've learned one thing about Clearwire this year, it's that hope springs eternal.

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The article 2012: A Winning Year for Clearwire originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributorRich Smithdoes not own shares of, or short, any company named above. You can read about his other predictions, and find more of his recommendations on CAPS, where Rich is known as TMFDitty, currently ranked No. 310 out of more than 180,000 members. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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