Sprint (NYSE: S) CFO Bob Brust concedes that the carrier will probably need to throw more money into the Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR)--its WiMAX venture with, among others, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) and Bright House Networks--but he doesn't know how much and he doesn't think it will end up being a corporate takeover.
"The best thing over time would be for us to have better control ... but that's hard to do. An imminent move in that thing would be very expensive," Brust told analysts.
While Sprint owns the controlling interest in Clearwire, it doesn't control Clearwire, which has been somewhat independent (and to Sprint's way of thinking) competitive in the kinds of partners it's lining up. Friction over that, especially as Clearwire courts Sprint rival T-Mobile, isn't fatal and won't cause a knee-jerk reaction at Sprint, Brust said. "That would be the most inefficient thing that's happened in 100 years in this industry. You would need to put us both in a room and then blow up that room."
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