Time Warner Cable (New York, USA) intends to sell its 7.8% stake in mobile broadband provider Clearwire (Kirkland, USA), according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The cable operator has made clear its plans in a regulatory filing and also notified other Clearwire investors, which have the option of purchasing all or part of the stake.
Time Warner paid around $550 million for its interest in Clearwire back in 2008, but the shares would fetch only about $73.3 million at current prices.
The mobile broadband company has struggled to position itself as a wholesaler of 4G network capacity since America’s leading operators began upgrading their own infrastructure.
It has also embarked on a costly transition from WiMax, a 4G standard that has failed to win the support of the world’s biggest operators, to LTE, which is being used by AT&T (Dallas, USA) and Verizon (New York, USA), among other international players.
Other shareholders, including Google (Mountain View, USA) and Intel (Santa Clara, USA), have also abandoned the company, racking up substantial losses on their initial investments in the process.
US cable companies originally saw Clearwire as a means to enter the fast-growing mobile market, but they have recently changed tack and begun selling off their wireless and spectrum interests.
According to Dow Jones, Time Warner has already written down its investment in Clearwire and would probably use the proceeds from a sale for share repurchases.
Clearwire claimed to have about $1.2 billion in cash at the end of the second quarter, saying this was enough to support it over the next 12 months. It said it was considering various options to raise cash.
Although Sprint (Overland Park, USA) is still the largest shareholder, its holding was diluted when Clearwire issued new shares to raise money and it no longer owns a majority stake.