Clearwire up after report of talks with Sprint

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Shares of Clearwire Corp., which operates a wireless broadband network, jumped sharply Friday on a published report that majority owner Sprint Nextel Corp. might buy it out with help from cable companies.

However, a source close to the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been no talks for weeks and a deal was not imminent or even likely.

Clearwire shares were up 72 cents, or 31 percent, at $3.03 in late morning trading.

Bloomberg News, citing anonymous sources, reported early Friday that cable companies including Comcast Corp. were discussing investing in Sprint, which could use the money to buy the 46 percent of Clearwire it doesn’t already own.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks are already investors in Clearwire. The cable companies are interested in selling wireless access to complement their cable-bound services, and have collaborated with Sprint and Clearwire before. Sprint resells access to Clearwire’s network as “Sprint 4G.”

Representatives of Comcast, Sprint and Clearwire had no comment on the Bloomberg story.

Clearwire is having trouble funding the expansion of its network, which is unprofitable. It also needs to raise money to fund the adoption of a new network technology. Sprint is also unprofitable and its ability fund Clearwire is limited.