Shares of Clearwire are soaring in early morning trading after reports emerged that Softbank may consider buying a controlling interest in Sprint Nextel, one of the largest shareholders in the Bellevue provider of wireless broadband. According to Reuters, Japan-based Softbank may be interested in Sprint in part because of Clearwire’s 2.5 Ghz spectrum holdings, which complement Softbank’s own TDD/LTE Network.
Even with the latest stock surge, shares of Clearwire are down nearly 10 percent on the year. It now has a market value of $2.57 billion.
Shares of Sprint are up more than 13 percent in today’s trading. The third largest U.S. carrier, with 56 million customers, is now valued at $17 billion.
A deal could come as T-Mobile bolsters its own offerings, agreeing earlier this month to buy MetroPCS.
“The asset (Sprint-Nextel) represents the only way for a potential new entrant to get a national presence immediately in the U.S., especially given T-Mobile’s recent signaling that it will reinvest in the market and no longer seems willing to sell itself near-term,” Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said in a note picked up by Reuters.