Sold! Clearwire Raises $715M from Stock Sale to Bankroll New Network

12/13/11Follow @curtwoodward

Struggling wireless provider Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) has raised cash to beef up its network with new, faster technology.

Bellevue, WA-based Clearwire says it netted $715.5 million in stock sales Tuesday—$384.1 million in public share sales and another $331.4 million in a separate, private transaction with Sprint, its majority shareholder and customer.

It’s another big step in the rebuilding process that Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch has been quarterbacking since he took over the company in August from interim CEO John Stanton (previously, Prusch had served as CFO).

In a statement, Prusch said the infusion of cash “will enable us to continue delivering 4G mobile broadband service to meet the rapidly growing demand in the industry. We remain ideally and uniquely positioned to serve both wholesale and retail customers well into the future.”

Sprint’s participation in the stock sale is part of a $1.6 billion financing lifeline announced earlier this month, which allowed Clearwire to make a debt payment that it had considered skipping or paying late.

Clearwire was an early entrant in building fourth-generation, or 4G, networks in the U.S. But it based that network around a technology called WiMax, and the industry is now moving toward a faster technology known as Long-Term Evolution, or LTE. Clearwire has said previously that it could need around $600 million to build LTE capacity.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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