US court rejects shareholder action to block Sprint Clearwire acquisition

A US court has rejected a fast track shareholder action looking to block Sprint’s bid to acquire Clearwire.

Select shareholders at Clearwire have reportedly claimed Sprint’s offer of $2.97 per share is too low, with the lawsuit initiated by Crest Financial Ltd, Clearwire’s largest shareholder after Sprint.

Crest’s general counsel had stated he hopes for a full trial in April to stop the deal, but after a hearing on Thursday, a Delaware judge refused to approve a motion to expedite and put the case on track for a full trial.

The judge did however leave Crest with the option to renew its motion, and for it to pursue damages against Clearwire if it can prove that the company breached duties to shareholders.

Crest acknowledged the court’s validation of the lawsuit. “We’re encouraged that the court recognised the seriousness and validity of our lawsuit. Crest intends to press forward and seek the significant damages that Clearwire's minority shareholders will suffer because of Sprint's grossly inadequate and coercive offer," Crest said in a statement.

A Sprint spokesman said it was pleased with the court’s ruling.

Satellite TV provider Dish made a rivalling offer to acquire Clearwire on Tuesday at $3.30 a share.