Google Bids Farewell to Clearwire

Troubled 4G wireless provider Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) can't seem to get things to go its way nowadays. The company recently reported lackluster earnings, with red continuing to be the color theme, leading to a mean sell-off. Clearwire then warned that it might need to raise additional capital, despite the fact that it had already received $1 billion in the past few months.

The latest gloomy development is that search giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has now disclosed that it intends to bid farewell to its 6.5% stake in the company, taking more than a 90% haircut on the investment. Way back in 2008, Google had put in a $500 million investment and is now hoping to recoup just $47.1 million of that.

Big G is planning on selling its 29.4 million shares for the bargain price of $1.60 to other Clearwire investors, a substantial discount to yesterday's closing price $2.27, and then offer the shares to the broader market if needed.

There's no word on whether some of Clearwire's other big investors will follow suit, which includes bigwigs like Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) , and Comcast, and of course Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) .

Intel says it won't increase its stake, which includes Class A and B shares, and the chip king has already written down the value of its 65.6 million B shares to zilch, while it's still hanging on to 28.4 million A shares. At the end of last year, Comcast was sitting on 88.5 million B shares, while Time Warner Cable was the proud owner of 46.4 million of them.

As much as Sprint had hoped to get cozy with LightSquared for its 4G LTE needs, the FCC made short work of that last week. Like it or not, Sprint, it looks like you're stuck in a loveless marriage with Clearwire, while Google is free to galavant about, although it does have hopes of settling down with Motorola Mobility someday soon.

Clearwire's dire position is one reason it's not a top stock. Luckily, we've just released a new special free report on what company is The Motley Fool's Top Stock of 2012. In it, we've named an emerging market retail play that's also a recent Rule Breakers recommendation. Check out the free report now.

Fool contributor Evan Niu holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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