May 7, 2008

sprint1.jpgSprint Nextel shareholders looking for a shake-up at the struggling wireless company got their wish on Wednesday, as it announced a $14.5 billion joint venture with Clearwire  centered on next-generation WiMax broadbrand. The joint venture will be about 51 percent owned by Sprint, 27 percent by existing Clearwater shareholders, and about 22 for new investors — including Intel, Google, Time Warner and Comcast.  WiMax is designed to blanket entire cities with wireless Web access at speeds up to five times faster than traditional wireless networks, but it is a largely unproven technology.

Carl Icahn may not be quite done with Motorola. The activist investor,  who won two seats on the board and helped pressure the company to split off its cell phone division, raised the stake owned by him and his affiliates to 7.6 percent, according to a regulatory filing released Wednesday. Icahn and affiliates owned 6.4 percent in March.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group shares will start trading in the United States this week, but Wall Street is not welcoming back the soft drink maker with open arms. “When issued” shares debuted last Monday at $29 but fell 11 percent by Friday, closing at $25.80. Analysts are skeptical about prospects for the company, which lacks its own popular beverages in the sports and energy drink segments and gets most of its sales from the United States, where sales of traditional soft drinks are slipping.

Other deals of the day:

* Irish exploration company Providence Resources said it had agreed to buy a portfolio of oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico from Triangle Oil and Gas Inc for $67.5 million.

* A Philippine business clan, the Gokongweis, and Morgan Stanley have expressed interest in buying a 40 percent stake owned by Saudi Aramco in oil refiner Petron Corp, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said.

* Nippon Oil Corp said state-run China National Petroleum Corp is considering taking a 49 percent stake in the Japanese refiner’s Osaka refinery.

* French engineering firm Alstom is still keen on forging a tie-up with state-owned nuclear reactors maker Areva, Alstom Chief Executive Patrick Kron said.

* Airbus scrapped talks to sell two French factories to supplier Latecoere, bowing to the global credit crisis for the second time in a month after a similar sale collapsed in Germany.

* Private equity firm Nordic Capital will again extend its offer to buy all shares in Nordic IT services company TietoEnator, until May 16 from May 9, it said.

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