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Google Dumping Clearwire Stake

Danny Goodwin
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Google will sell its 6.5 percent stake in wireless Internet service provider Clearwire for roughly $47 million (or a discounted stock price of $1.60 per share), according to an SEC filing. Google initially invested $500 million in the company in 2008.

“The SEC documentation explains Google's exit from Clearwire as an act of rebalancing its portfolio of investments, but a more candid assessment would be that Google expects Clearwire to sink beneath its mountain of debt and is getting out while it can,” the Verge reported. “Sales of Google's [29.4 million] shares in Clearwire will begin on February 27th, with the other equity holders getting first dibs, and should close by the end of March."

Clearwire has lost nearly $2 billion in the past four years, CNET noted, while its stock has tumbled 56 percent in the past year, according to Bloomberg.

In 2008 Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks invested a combined $3.2 billion. At the time, Google said it was investing in the “future of the open Internet”.

As part of the deal, Google was to provide search and applications to a new nationwide wireless broadband network and jointly create an “Internet protocol to work with mobile broadband devices (including Android-powered devices) and implementing other open network practices and policies.” The WiMax technology never caught on, however.

But now Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility is nearing completion, and TechCrunch speculates Google may be deciding to focus on "devices and services rather than delivery."

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