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clearwire22Sprint worked hard to acquire Bellevue-based Clearwire, increasing its bid several times in a rivalry with Dish Network. Eventually, after months of back and forth, Sprint won the bidding war in July.

But now Sprint is in the process of slashing the workforce of Clearwire. In a notice filed with the State of Washington, Sprint indicated that 161 employees in Bellevue and Kirkland will lose their jobs.

And more cuts will be coming, with spokeswoman Susan Johnston saying that “75 percent of Clearwire’s pre-acquisition workforce will be affected by the separation process.”

That’s a large chunk of the staff. Clearwire employed 1,053 people at the end of September 2012, including about 400 in the Seattle area. It was unclear how many people worked at Clearwire in July, at the time of the Sprint deal.

Here’s the full statement from Johnston.

Clearwire and Sprint have completed the process of notifying Clearwire employees about their long-term job status with the combined company. Affected employees who are eligible have received information regarding job status, separation benefits and support services. Hundreds of Clearwire employees involved in serving existing Clearwire customers and the ongoing LTE network build project will continue with Sprint long-term, predominantly in Bellevue, Wash and Herndon, Virginia. However, approximately 75 percent of Clearwire’s pre-acquisition workforce will be affected by the separation process.

We reported back in July that Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch was leaving the company, and at the time the company hinted that many others would be leaving.

Throughout the merger discussions, industry watchers speculated that Sprint wanted Clearwire largely for its spectrum.

The layoffs would seem to indicate that’s exactly what’s going on here.

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