The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has offered to pay up to $1.5 billion for the rights to spectrum leases from Clearwire Corp. The purchase would give the country's largest wireless carrier the right to utilize airwaves currently controlled by Clearwire in major U.S. markets.
Clearwire disclosed Friday in a schedule 14A to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had received an offer from a "strategic buyer" for spectrum leases, but it identitied the buyer only as “Party J.”
Verizon’s offer further complicates a three-way series of deals in which Clearwire had agreed to sell itself to part-owner Sprint Nextel Corp., and Sprint had agreed to sell a controlling stake in itself to Softbank of Japan.
Additionally, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has become the subject of a hostile takeover as Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq:DISH) has offered to buy out the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. for $25.5 billion.
"Sprint is in play," Dish Chairman Charles Ergen told the Wall Street Journal. "We think we've made an offer that's much more compelling than the Softbank transaction."
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Clearwire said in its SEC filing that it would evaluate the proposal and discuss it with "Party J" and Sprint.