September 17, 2004
Clearwire raises $160M
In probably the largest private stock offering in Washington state history, Craig McCaw has raised $160M for Clearwire reports the Seattle Times. Craig has been hit or miss lately, but looks to be investing heavilly in this one. Still not clear what their advantage is going to be other than licensed spectrum for wireless broadband. Unlike his previous cellular efforts, this time he will face significant competition from unlicensed spectrum (Wifi, WiMax, etc.). Will be interesting to watch.
Kirkland-based Clearwire, billionaire Craig McCaw's latest venture, has quietly sold $160 million in common stock, according to a document filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The amount is a huge sum for a new public company, let alone a private entity such as Clearwire, which unveiled its plans for wireless broadband service only this summer. But McCaw's name appears to attract interest.
McCaw is best known for starting McCaw Cellular Communications, which he sold to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. He later rescued Reston, Va.-based Nextel Communications in 1995 by investing about $1.1 billion and turning it into one of the country's largest wireless carriers.
The SEC filing does not identify the investors but does say the money came from 23 investors in nine states. Most of it, $134.7 million, came from Washington.
Clearwire declined to comment.
McCaw's vision for Clearwire includes rolling out wireless broadband access to the Internet through licensed radio spectrum. A wireless modem, instead of a cable or telephone wires, is used to connect to the Internet. Speeds are expected to be 25 times faster than dial-up, the company has said.
On Thursday, Clearwire officially launched the service in Jacksonville, Fla., where community leaders cut through a ribbon of coaxial cable and telephone cord in front of a library. The company plans to be in 20 markets in a year. Next up is St. Cloud, Minn.
In March, McCaw merged his Flux Fixed Wireless with Clearwire Holdings, an Arlington, Texas, wireless Internet service provider that held leases to broadcast spectrum allotted to schools in the 1960s.
That spectrum has the advantage of being used by one entity at a time. By contrast, spectrum used by another wireless technology, Wi-Fi, can experience interference.
Clearwire also recently purchased NextNet, which develops a kind of plug-and-play wireless broadband technology referred to as non-line-of-sight. NextNet is in 20 markets around the world, including Mexico, the United States and Africa.
Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or email@example.com
Posted by Martin at September 17, 2004 2:43 PM
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