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Dish makes surprise bid to buy Clearwire out from under Sprint

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The drama surrounding Sprint's LTE roadmap has taken yet another turn, as Dish has made an unsolicited bid to buy Clearwire for $5.15 billion. Clearwire, of course, had already agreed to sell itself to Sprint — the half that Sprint didn't already own, that is — for around $2.2 billion. Sprint was only willing to part with that cash after it was acquired by Japanese carrier SoftBank. The corporate twists and turns have been an ongoing story and Dish's offer is a surprise — although the satellite television company has been expressing strong interest in wireless for some time.

Dish confirmed that it made the offer, Clearwire confirmed that it is considering the offer, and Sprint confirmed that it's none to happy to see Dish try to buy Clearwire out from under it. Sprint said it believes that its own offer is "superior to the highly conditional DISH proposal," since it apparently contains more complicated transactions and maybe even isn't allowed due to contracts Sprint has with Clearwire. Clearwire — which once again, is majority owned by Sprint — reiterated the same talking point, but decided that its "fiduciary duties require it to engage with DISH to discuss" the deal. Ah, the joys of trading around a publicly traded company.

Dish, meanwhile, is standing firm by its offer. Dish is also rumored to be in talks with Google to launch a wireless network. If it manages to overcome the speed bumps Sprint will throw up in front of it, the buyout could portend a five major player in the US wireless industry