Clearwire Losing Time Warner Cable as an Investor

Now that it uses Verizon Wireless for mobile services, Time Warner Cable doesn’t need Clearwire anymore. 

To that end, Time Warner said in a regulatory filing it’s selling its 7.8 percent stake, or 46.4 million shares, in the WiMAX operator.

It seems like an opportune time to start to sell the shares in light of the companys arrangements with Verizon Wireless,” Justin Venech, a Time Warner Cable spokesman, said in a prepared statement on Monday.

Another reason the timing seems opportune for Time Warner is that WiMAX has become the underdog in the 4G wars. Long-term evolution, or LTE, has won out, even as Clearwire built its business model for a nationwide 4G network on WiMAX. Clearwire has been in trials to transition to LTE but it’s fighting to maintain investor confidence as it does so. Along the way, it has had trouble adding subscribers through majority stakeholder Sprint Nextel.

Time Warner Cable bought its share in Clearwire in 2008 for $550 million. As of yesterday’s Wall Street close, those holdings were worth $71.5 million.

Meantime, Comcast continues to hold its 88.5 million-shares stake in Clearwire, even though it, too, has teamed with Verizon Wireless for mobile services.

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