Why Clearwire Shares Tumbled

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Fourth-generation wireless broadband service provider Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) appears to have again lost connection with investors, down as much as 12%, after Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) announced it'd be selling its stake in the company.

So what: Time Warner Cable purchased a stake in Clearwire in 2008 for $550 million. That stake, 7.8% of outstanding shares, is worth just a paltry $73 million today. It now appears that Time Warner Cable is going to expand its 4G LTE partnership with Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and is perfectly comfortable jettisoning its Clearwire stake at a loss.

Now what: Clearwire can't seem to catch many breaks. Last week, Clearwire did announce a 4G wholesale agreement with EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK  ) , but beyond this deal, it's just been one bad announcement after another. Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , despite buoying Clearwire with upwards of $2 billion in investments, has spurned the company in favor of other LTE possibilities. Also, there's that little bit about Clearwire's $2.9 billion in debt that comes due in 2015. Unless Clearwire puts a yard sale sign up for its spectrum, I don't see how it will survive.

Craving more input? Start by adding Clearwire to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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