Clearwire considers skipping debt payment, shares plunge

Erik Prusch

Shares of Kirkland-based mobile broadband company Clearwire fell more than 20 percent in trading today after its CEO told the Wall Street Journal that it’s contemplating skipping a $237 million debt payment, due Dec. 1, to help conserve its cash.

“It’s a very expensive payment that we have,” said Erik Prusch, the company’s CEO since August, in an interview with the newspaper. “It would be a significant drain of our cash, so we have to evaluate everything in terms of our decision of where we’re going.”

Clearwire’s shares closed at 1.47, down 39 cents on the day.

The company has been through a series of challenges this year amid uncertainty about its cash position, and questions about its relationship with Sprint, its majority owner and biggest customer. Investors had been encouraged earlier this month when the company reported increases in subscribers and quarterly revenue.

Clearwire made a huge bet building out its the WiMAX mobile broadband network but has recently been embracing the competing LTE standard as the industry shifts in that direction.

  • Anonymous

    I like the positioning of “skipping” the debt payment like skipping a Christmas Party.

  • Cp_south

    Can someone help me understand how this company is still relevant?   I had the service here in Seattle and it was horrible.  It was so bad I paid the cancellation fee happily.   I don’t understand the business model offer weak, low speed service. 

  • Bill

    Clearwire needs to go bankrupt, sell its spectrum at auction, be put out of its misery. Clearwire does not have a viable business and does not have the capital to do anything meaningful with that spectrum.