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Big shareholder Crest ends battle with Sprint over Clearwire

People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Crest Financial, which owns a big stake in Clearwire Corp, said on Wednesday it is backing Sprint Nextel Corp's purchase of the rest of Clearwire, ending a protracted and noisy fight over the wireless service provider.

Crest, which hold 8 percent of Clearwire , wrote in a letter to Clearwire shareholders that it intended to vote in favor of the merger after Sprint raised its offer to $5 per Clearwire share from $2.97.

"We are proud of our campaign and stand by our analysis," Crest said in the letter.

"At the same time, with this favorable resolution, we withdraw any statements made in the heat of battle that may be construed as disparaging to Clearwire, Sprint, their directors and officers, or any other participants in this hard-fought contest."

Clearwire was in the middle of a tug-of-war ever since Sprint, its majority shareholder, offered to buy out the rest of the company.

Charlie Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network Corp , the satellite television provider, made a counterbid for a minority position in Clearwire because of it owned valuable communications spectrum.

Several minority shareholders launched a boisterous campaign against Sprint, trying to get the company to increase its offer. Dish bowed out after Sprint trumped its bid of $4.40 per share.

Sprint itself was the subject of a takeover battle between Japan's SoftBank's Corp <9984.T> and Dish. Softbank eventually won that bidding war.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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