Dish boosts bid for Clearwire to counter Sprint

Dish Networks raised its offer for the broadband service firm Clearwire, countering a bid from telecom carrier Sprint, which is locked in a heated battle with the satellite television provider.

In an announcement late Wednesday, Dish offered $4.40 per share in cash, responding to last week's revised bid from Sprint at $3.40 per share for the 50 percent of Clearwire it does not already own.

The new offer came just ahead of a Clearwire stockholders' meeting Friday on the matter.

"The Clearwire spectrum portfolio has always been a key component to implementing our wireless plans of delivering a superior product and service offering to customers," said Charlie Ergen, chairman and co-founder of Dish.

Dish is seeking Clearwire's spectrum as part of an effort to build a company that could deliver a fully integrated, nationwide bundle of video, television, broadband Internet and voice services.

Dish has made a separate bid for Sprint itself for $25.5 billion, in an effort to head off its acquisition by Japanese mobile giant SoftBank.

Sprint wants Clearwire's spectrum and broadband WiMax network, which is becoming more valuable with the surge of mobile Internet use.

SoftBank is set to acquire 70 percent of Sprint, the number three US carrier behind AT&T and Verizon Wireless, later this year, if shareholders and US regulators approve the deal.