Clearwire witnessing shareholder exodus

US wireless broadband operator Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) may be witnessing a shareholder exodus, with cable operator Comcast (Philadelphia, USA) becoming the latest investor to sour on the stock.

Comcast has not sold its 6% stake in Clearwire, but it has converted the holding into commonly traded shares, prompting speculation it is on the verge of doing so.

The news comes just days after Time Warner (New York, USA) began selling its 7.8% stake in the business. Other investors, including web giant Google (Mountain View, USA), have also sold their Clearwire shares.

US wireless broadband operator Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) may be witnessing a shareholder exodus, with cable operator Comcast (Philadelphia, USA) becoming the latest investor to sour on the stock.

Comcast has not sold its 6% stake in Clearwire, but it has converted the holding into commonly traded shares, prompting speculation it is on the verge of doing so.

The news comes just days after Time Warner (New York, USA) began selling its 7.8% stake in the business. Other investors, including web giant Google (Mountain View, USA), have also sold their Clearwire shares.

Time Warner’s sale came shortly after it began converting shares into a format widely traded on Nasdaq.

Meanwhile, Clearwire has issued a regulatory filing that says it may delay the deployment of its LTE network until spending is aligned with revenues.

The company operates a network based on WiMax, which has fallen out of favour as the rival LTE standard has gained momentum. Clearwire has previously announced plans to shift from WiMax to LTE but is a long way behind AT&T (Dallas, USA) and Verizon (New York, USA), which are already providing LTE services.

Nevertheless, Clearwire plans to start building its LTE network early next year and to have 5,000 sites up and running by mid-2013.

The company says it will receive a payment from Sprint, its biggest shareholder, if it reaches a certain LTE rollout target by the end of June 2013.

At the end of the second quarter, Clearwire had $1.2 billion in cash on its books and reckoned this was enough to continue operating for another 12 months, but it could try selling spectrum to raise additional funds.

Google sold its stake in the company for a $433.5 million loss in March, while semiconductor maker Intel (Santa Clara, USA) wrote down the value of its 7.3% stake earlier this year.

Clearwire’s stock has lost more than 42% of its value over the past year.