"Isn't it easier to (buy out Sprint)..." No! WHY would someone buy out Sprint and assume its current liabilities of nearly $37 billion, its nasty reputation, and its LOSING ways ESPECIALLY in light of what they're getting in exchange for the dubious privilege of claiming majority ownership of CLWR?
Look at CLWR's financials since 2005. Look at their projected estimated earnings. Assuming control of CLWR comes with its OWN significant financial challenges! I suspect, like Sprint, many potential investors feel the company ought to be allowed to fail and, afterward, they can pick up the stuff that has value for pennies on the dollar! HOWEVER, in both Sprint AND Clearwire's case, there is questionable, "value" to be realized!
Interesting questions. Your guess of a take out price sounds right; but I'm not a financial ANALyst and don't run the valuation models.
A merger between T-Mobile and Clearwire makes some sense because DT could help bankroll it. The days of mega-mergers in America has hit somewhat of a brick wall of lack of liquidity as the economy has turned from irrational exuberant inflation to, perhaps, decades of deflation. In any case, foreign funding conspires with the strategic balance of telecom players. If the USA didn't have so much of a stick up our ... oh sorry... let's be civil... we might be welcoming China's participation as well. They earned it... let them buy in to America.