Sprint reduces Clearwire stake, no longer majority owner

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have been joined at the hip for years, creating what has been at times an uncomfortable marriage. But the two companies — while not splitting outright — are growing apart.

As a result of recent stock changes, Sprint is no longer Clearwire’s majority shareholder. On June 1, Sprint made the decision to surrender 77,413,434 shares of Class B common stock, reducing its voting interest and diminishing its share in the company below 50 percent. As a result of the deal, Sprint agreed to pay Clearwire of $7,741.34.

“Now that our economic interest has fallen below 50 percent, we are reclaiming our full voting rights so that our voting rights and economic rights are once again aligned,” a Sprint spokesman told Reuters.

A Clearwire spokesman declined to comment on what the change in ownership might mean. However, the two companies very much remain aligned, working together on the roll out of a new high-speed LTE network. Sprint also remains Clearwire’s largest shareholder and wholesale partner.

Last December, Sprint announced plans to invest $1.6 billion in Clearwire, adding to its previous investments. Despite the investments over the years, Clearwire’s stock remains tattered with a value of $1.6 billion. It is down 70 percent over the past year.

Previously on GeekWireGoogle selling entire Clearwire stake for $47M, four years after $500M investment