Clearwire IPO raises $600 million
Wireless broadband provider Clearwire yesterday raised $600 million through a much-anticipated initial public offering that is expected to help finance the company’s capital-expansion efforts.
In the IPO, Clearwire sold 24 million shares at $25 apiece—resulting in net proceeds of $559 million, according to reports—and began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market today under the ticker symbol “CLWR.” Less than a year ago, Clearwire announced IPO plans but abandoned them after receiving $900 million in private investments led by Intel and Motorola.
Founded by Chairman Craig McCaw in 2003, Clearwire serves more than 200,000 customers in 35 metro markets. The company is building a next-generation network using WiMAX technology.
Clearwire has been accumulating spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band, including a recent announcement that it would pay $300 million for airwaves in the band that AT&T was required to divest as part of its merger with BellSouth.
Given some of the past successes that McCaw’s been involved with—the wireless pioneer played key roles in the development of McCaw Cellular and Nextel Communications—the success of the Clearwire IPO was not surprising, said Ovum wireless analyst Roger Entner. However, a successful IPO does not necessarily mean Clearwire will achieve long-term financial viability.
“There are enough people around who will blindly invest in anything Craig McCaw touches, so I don’t have any doubt that the IPO will succeed; I just don’t know if the investors, in the end, will be happy,” Entner said. “It’s going to be tough for them, because broadband penetration is already so high, and they’re going after the same low-hanging fruits that have largely been picked already.”