The most interesting parts of this article were the "frank" quotes from Charlie Ergen, Masayoshi Son and UK Wireless's Howard Jones regarding how they value clearwire's spectrum potential.
Also interesting was it's reference to interest on the part of Google.
That statement, at that event, was the "pin drop" moment of corporate history.
It reminded me of that Southwest Airlines "wanna get away" commercial where the rock band finishes up it's final song to a berserk crown and lead singer ends it with "Thank you, CHICAGO!!!"...
... and when the crowd goes silent, another band member whispers to the lead singer... "Chicago was LAST night".
By ANTON TROIANOVSKI
Clearwire Corp. CLWR -1.51%has long been the U.S. wireless industry's most embattled carrier. In recent months, the money-losing company has also emerged as its crown jewel.
Interactive: A Changing Telecom Landscape
Review past and pending deals.
.Timeline: Sprint's History
..The company, which covers less than half the U.S. population with high-speed mobile Internet service, has teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, both Dish Network Corp. DISH +0.67%and SoftBank Corp. 9984.TO -0.19%are showing keen interest in Clearwire's huge stockpile of spectrum even as they battle for control of Sprint Nextel Corp., S +1.39%a majority owner of Clearwire.
Clearwire once teetered near bankruptcy, but now, its huge stockpile of spectrum is the object of desire. Anton Troianovski joins MoneyBeat.
.The contest heated up a notch Monday, when Sprint sued Dish saying its offer to buy Clearwire shares violated Sprint's rights as a shareholder and Delaware law. Dish has said its offer was lawful and on Monday said it was considering its options.
Clearwire said it doesn't comment on litigation.
The spectrum has become a prized asset thanks to a sea change in how people use their mobile devices. Without it, Dish and Softbank's opportunities to offer a new slate of wireless services could be limited.
More than a month ago, before Dish boosted its bid for Clearwire, Dish Chairman Charles Ergen hinted to Wall Street on an earnings conference call that the small wireless company was behind the dramatic merger brawl between himself and fellow billionaire Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese telecom and Internet company SoftBank.
"If you look at the synergies that we're talking about and look at the synergies that SoftBank talks about, a lot of those synergies are in Clearwire," Mr. Ergen said. "It was considered swampland spectrum and now it's kind of beachfront property."
The wireless data boom—as seen in Americans' deepening addiction to using their phones and tablets to stream music, watch YouTube videos, and upload Facebook FB +0.78%photos—is behind Clearwire's sudden popularity.
The average smartphone in the U.S. generated 577 megabytes of mobile data traffic a month last year, up from 389 megabytes in 2011, according to Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO +0.49%
Sprint Files Lawsuit Against Dish, Clearwire
Dealpolitik: How Struggling Clearwire Became the Prize
.For things like making calls, sending text messages, reading the news and checking email, the existing "3G" networks that cover most of the country have served the wireless carriers well. But carriers are now scrambling to beef up their coverage in dense urban and suburban areas to carry heavier traffic like video.
That is where Clearwire comes in. Rather than using the Clearwire spectrum to build a national network, SoftBank and Dish have said they would use the company's spectrum to provide additional capacity in areas where data use is highest.
In dense areas, the fact that signals on Clearwire's spectrum don't travel very far isn't as much of a disadvantage, while the large amount of spectrum that Clearwire controls means it can carry a large amount of traffic.
In the U.K., wireless carriers are already planning similar moves. Earlier this year, the government there raised $3.7 billion in a spectrum auction that included similar airwaves to what Clearwire uses. The airwaves are "fantastic for speed and capacity," said Howard Jones, a spokesman for U.K. wireless carrier EE, which paid $925 million in the auction.
In recent months, Verizon Wireless has offered to buy some of Clearwire's spectrum. And Google Inc., GOOG +1.62%which sold out of an earlier Clearwire investment last year, continues to be interested in the company. Top executives at the search giant are paying close attention to the company's fate and see it as key to the U.S. wireless industry's future, according to people familiar with the matter.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.
The hope for SoftBank and Dish is that as more wireless carriers around the world start using the same frequencies, an "ecosystem" of cheap smartphones, tablets and other devices will emerge that supports that spectrum.
.Cellular pioneer Craig McCaw founded Clearwire a decade ago with the aim of building the country's first nationwide wireless high-speed network. He pieced together spectrum—the right to use the airwaves to offer wireless service—through deals with schools, churches and, ultimately, an agreement with Sprint, which contributed much of its spectrum to the company and in turn received a majority stake.
But the large swath of spectrum that Mr. McCaw ended up controlling was higher up on the radio dial than just about any other airwaves used for cellphones. The higher the frequency, the less robust signals are when traveling over long distances. That means covering a large geographic area with Clearwire spectrum requires more cellphone towers than lower-frequency spectrum.
The expense of building out its network contributed to Clearwire's malaise in recent years, as the company's stock price plummeted from a post-IPO high of more than $30 in 2007 to a nadir of around $1 last July. Network construction stalled, as funds ran dry. A bad relationship with part owner Sprint, and a bet on a technology standard that other wireless carriers didn't end up following, also hurt progress. Mr. McCaw resigned as chairman at the end of 2010.
But in the last 12 months, Clearwire's shares have tripled to $4.63, as investors hoped for an acquisition. When SoftBank announced a $20 billion deal for Sprint in October, SoftBank's Mr. Son spoke at length about his interest in Clearwire's spectrum. And shortly after Sprint agreed to a deal in December to buy the half of Clearwire it didn't already own for $2.97 a share, Dish jumped in with a competing offer.
Clearwire is now in the middle of a full-blown bidding war. Sprint, with SoftBank's blessing, raised its bid in May to $3.40 a share. A day before Clearwire's shareholders were to vote on that deal, Dish raised its own offer to $4.40. Clearwire recommended shareholders accept the Dish offer. Sprint's lawsuit, filed Monday in the Delaware Court of Chancery, seeks to stop Dish's tender offer to shareholders. Sprint said Dish has attempted "to fool Clearwire's shareholders into believing its proposal was actionable."
Blitz, lets take one of dozens of examples... the 2-year Clearwire contract with sprint signed on December 1st of 2011.
Leading up to that contract in Q4, 2011, Clearwire's WiMax volumes were absolutely EXPLODING. Sprint WiMax users were amping up their usage, and the whole reason for wholesaling tonnage was coming to fruition for Clearwire.
Clearwire's EBITDA went into the black that quarter.
So sprint, while still threatening it's subsidiary with being replaced by Lightsquared, rammed a "fixed rate" Wimax wholesale contract down Clearwire's throat... a deal so bad that clearwire almost made good on the only counter-threat that it had... default on it's bonds and lost control over clearwire on sprint's shoulders.
The fixed-rate WiMax contract served to ball and chain Clearwire BACK into a negative EBITDA situation while Sprint enjoyed the fruits of "unlimited WiMax volumes for one, low price"... and a clearwire stock price that suffered as a result...
... suffered so much that it enabled sprint's initial, ridiculous $2.97 bid for clearwire in the first place.
These are events that Teamrep knows about, but will never talk about. Inconvenient truths about events leading up to today's stupid court battle.
After all that Clearwire shareholders have endured from Sprint over the years, it's clearly the strangest claim of the decade that Sprint should suggest that they're protecting Clearwire shareholders from Dish.
Most laughable thing I've ever seen... seemingly a sign of desparation, for lack of a better term.
The autumn of 2011 was legendary. I have never witnessed a corporate presentation that was a screwed up as the Sprint confab was in October of 2011...
... I was amazed that all Hesse got was a trip to the woodshed... he should have been s**t-Canned right there and then.
You're right, Mike. Thrashing around in a courtroom while Verizon and AT&T further extend their wireless lead is just like when they tried to destroy Clearwire by chumming around with Lightsquared... which also hampered their effort to get the Network Vision project rolling and coordinated with Clearwire.
Dan Hesse has wasted TONS of time and resources in his effort to marginalize and effectively steal clearwire from it's minority shareholders...
... which is why Hesse and Son are going off the emotional deep end now... because all the sacrifices Hesse made with sprint to hurt clearwire are being lost at the hands of Charlie Ergen and it's got him acting totally irrational with court suits when he should just buy clearwire for a low, but fair price and get ON with the battle with VZ/AT&T.
Once sprint is bought, Hesse's gone. Aside from improving Sprint's customer service, the guy has done nothing toward preparing Sprint for the later part of this decade.
We may be trading ex-dividend today, but you might want to look at the huge move in Sands China (SCHYY) today...
... LVS is moving sympathetically with SCHYY.
Corrections... not "such" sensitive casinos... because the Seattle venue wasn't sensitive to the impressions of other players when it backed off the cummy A.P.
Social Camo is good for casinos who covet their other key ploppies who are high rollers.
I was playing in a Seattle area casino once and was sitting next to one of those "marginal" advantage players. He was spreading his bets aggressively and, thus, attracting the attention of the pit boss (and presumably surveillance), but he wasn't spreading optimally and didn't always play his hands correctly based on the count.
For example, the index for AOII for doubling a hard 8 against a 5 is +8, but he was doing it at +2. He was also elevating his bet on ANY, plus count when, in fact, the advantage doesn't revert to the player until there is almost exactly one extra 10-card per single deck equivalent remaining in the pack. I figure he had an advantage of barely .2 or .3 percent over the house (far less than 1% edge).
After about 80 or 90 minutes, the house executed a rather raucious back-off of the player... complete with arguing and vitriol.
Once things settled down, I noticed that the whole affair had generated sour commentary from other players at the table about the "pig-headed house". One of them was a fairly high roller who declared he was going to play elsewhere in the future.
By backing off that one, marginal counter, I estimate that the house may have cost themselves a good 100 times the future profitable business from the other players that were miffed by what they had done with the back-off.
For such "sensitive" casinos, I frequently employ "social camouflage"... essentially chatting up a high-roller to make it seem as though he's my best buddy. He essentially becomes my "shield" against a backoff because they won't risk losing HIS business by denying me my card-counting profits...
... provided, of course, that my bets don't rival HIS in size.
Looking at, and wondering about, the big jump in Sands China's stock today served as a reminder... we're doing quite well of late.
Here's how you can see it.
Pull up a 2 year chart of Sands China (symbol SCHYY) on your yahoo finance chart.
Once it's up, do a "compare" of it with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (symbol ^HSI).
What you'll see, is huge outperformance. We all know how the 2011/2012 Chinese soft landing and measured recovery has impacted Chinese stocks, but we don't always appreciate how well Macau gaming has fared amidst that challenging environment.
So I ask, if Macau, and Sands in particular, can do this well with China growing well under 8% GDP right now, then how will it do at such time as the Chinese economy actually picks up and grows a bit faster?
Just another in a long line of countermeasures against counters, blitz.
I was tracked, barred, and blacklisted in a whole town once back in 2002 due to tracking software and regrettable persistence on my part. They're nothing new, but the way they are deployed are probably much more efficient given your article on Blackjack Countdown.
History is replete with countermeasures... everything from trashing deck penetration to continuous shufflers to trashed rules (like 6-to-5 payoffs for naturals in Vega's new Single-deck, junk games).
In the end, blitz... it all boils down to the cost of deploying all these countermeasures, "relative" to the amount of damage a card counter can do, and how frequently they show up. A large percentage of casinos spend way too much on countermeasures without fully appreciating just how little they lose to the occasional card counter.
For example, I can rate the proficiency of a card counter in about 10 to 15 minutes of observing him. A large percentage of counters simply aren't that good... maybe gaining a .5 or .6 edge over the house at best. Why spend a ton of money on countermeasures if you get maybe 1 counter every week or 2 and that's the extent of his edge.
Bottom line: I've been an expert in the art and math of advantage blackjack since 1997. The best thing about Blackjack Countdown, is that it'll just get the amateurs out of the way so that guys like me can have a cleaner playing field, that's all.
Same law firm that Crest had retained. In Crest's case, John Quinn himself was going to litigate it.
Clearly, Sprint is very, very angry that it's 3 year plan to buy out Clearwire for pennies on the dollar has been scuttled by Dish. The stock was so cheap, and the assets so valuable, that even a non-controlling minority stake looks attractive to Dish for $4.40 a share.
The Scrooge McDuck behind Hesse's obedient actions is Softbank's Masayoshi Son.
It was Mr. Son that raised his bid for Sprint with what is, in reality a REDUCED bid for Sprint... just a higher cash component that Son effectively removed from the cash infusion that he promised Sprint (and the SEC) that he would inject in to sprint. An amazingly "skinflint" move by Son... it's no wonder Dish is competing with him.
Similarly, Dish's $3.30 offer for Clearwire was trumped by Son by barely a DIME... to $3.40... so when Dish blows that bid away with their $4.40 bid...
... Mr. Son then instructs Dan Hesse to go CRYING LIKE A BABY TO THE COURTS!
As a Clearwire shareholder since late 2010, I can say without hesitation that Sprint has conducted itself toward Clearwire in the most dispicable way that I've ever seen in Corporate America... and that includes the way that Donald Trump treated shareholders of Trump Entertainment... which was FORMERLY the most dispicable thing I ever saw a Corporation do.
The icing on the cake? Now Sprint is claiming that DISH is trying to screw the minority shareholders...
... talk about the Pot calling the Kettle Black!
I mention this because to the extent that the fed shares that view, it is likely to go slow with withdrawl of QE.
Today's empire mfg. report and homebuilders survey pushed MREIT prices lower, but to the extent that the fed views continued 2% growth as likely, that provides a suitable backdrop for a very gradual phaseout of QE, which would benefit most MREITS, especially annaly.
A price under $13 for annaly, given their advantages over other agency-dominant M-REITS in the current environment, would classify as "ridiculous".
Sprint isn't going to tender to dish.
Also, remember that Crest is only one shareholder. Dish is more likely to appeal to the "gang of 4"... Kellett and company, who, unlike Crest, aren't hell-bent to see clearwire remain independent. Those guys just want a fair price.