Sprint Might Use Debt Offering to Fund Clearwire

Sprint Nextel Corp. anticipates selling $1.5 billion in senior notes by Tuesday, potentially helping the telecommunications company fund its strategic wireless partner Clearwire Corp.

The notes bear interest at 7 percent per year and mature on Aug. 15, 2020, said Sprint, which listed $21.3 billion in consolidated debt as of June 30, 2012.

Sprint announced last week it plans to use the funds from the public offering for “general corporate purposes” that may include redeeming outstanding debt, expanding and modernizing its network and funding Clearwire and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC. Sprint anticipates the net proceeds from the offering will total roughly $1.48 billion.

Sprint is a major shareholder in Clearwire, the high-speed wireless provider that operates WiMAX networks and is investing in 4G LTE technology. In a regulatory filing, Sprint describes a number of risks concerning money-losing Clearwire, including Clearwire’s need for capital funding over the immediate and long-term.

During the six months that ended June 30, 2012, the wireless provider incurred $992.1 million in net losses from continuing operations. Still, Clearwire said it believes it has adequate cash (as of June 30, 2012) to fund its business over the next 12 months.

“If our business fails to perform as we expect, or if we incur unforeseen expenses, we may be required to raise additional capital in the near term to fund our current business,” Clearwire cautioned in a regulatory filing. “Also, we will need to raise substantial additional capital to fund our business and meet our financial obligations beyond the next 12 months.”

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