Clearwire puts off shareholder vote to consider Dish's fatter bid

The company's shareholders are now set to vote on June 13

The tug-of-war over Clearwire looks set to continue for at least another two weeks as the struggling mobile operator postponed a special shareholder meeting once again to consider Dish Network's latest bid.

On Wednesday, Dish boosted its bid for Clearwire to US$4.40 per share, far above the current $3.40 offer from Sprint Nextel, which already owns about half the company. A special committee of Clearwire's board said Thursday it will consider Dish's bid, pushing back a meeting that had been set for Friday to vote on Sprint's proposed takeover. That meeting is now set for June 13.

Sprint's effort to complete its ownership of Clearwire, which supplies Sprint's WiMax network and is part of the carrier's LTE plans, has turned into a bidding war with Dish. Some minority shareholders of Clearwire have complained that Sprint's offers undervalued the company, which holds licenses to large amounts of radio spectrum around the country.

Dish, a satellite TV and broadband provider, is eyeing Clearwire as a way to get into the mobile business. In a statement released late Thursday, the company applauded Clearwire's announcement.

Clearwire's special committee will file a statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by June 12 saying whether it recommends that shareholders accept or reject Dish's offer. The committee could also take a neutral position or say it was unable to take a position on the offer.

Clearwire also said that for June, it would forego a monthly transaction in which it can draw $80 million in financing from Sprint. As part of its latest offer, Dish asked Clearwire to end the monthly financing draws from Sprint and said it would provide an equal amount through its an arrangement of its own.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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