Three Clearwire team members are out of the game. Sent from the board room into the locker room were three Sprint executives. A National Football League case prompted the move. Section 8 of the Clayton Act [PDF Download: Clayton Act
] prohibits interlocking directors, and Sprint didn’t want to be handed an off sides penalty.
Therefore, supposedly fearing they could be in violation of the law, Sprint made this preemptive move. Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, and officers Keith Cowan and Steven Elfman won’t be in the huddle next time the Clearwire BOD meets.
Analysts, however, think the Clayton Act excuse is a smoke screen to cover an internal problem. Clearwire
, headquartered in Kirkland, Washington, could need a financial uplift and funding isn’t coming their way under the current ownership. Comcast, a previous investor, hasn’t come forward with more money in hand. However, folks, such as T-Mobile, or 4G operators needing spectrum might be interested. Current investors include Intel Capital, Google, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks
There are other options – Sprint Nextel
could take over full ownership of wireless broadband provider Clearwire, or choose to punt taking its assets as it exists. The resignations of Hesse, Cowan, and Elfman haven’t changed stated plans. The company instituted WiMax service in Pittsburg and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and have plans to launch in other major markets before 2010 comes to a close.
Still, of the 13 members sitting on Clearwire’s board, Sprint has the right to appoint the majority of them, and Sprint is holding the right to do just that, once the anti-trust scare is over.
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