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April 17, 2007

Clearwire's stock slips further

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 10:25 AM

Clearwire, which is planning to build a nationwide wireless broadband network based on WiMax technology, saw its stock slip more than 60 cents early today to less than $18 a share.

The Kirkland company, founded by wireless entrepreneur Craig McCaw, went public only a month ago, raising $600 million by selling shares at $25 apiece.

The AP reported today that the stock slipped even as at least seven analysts initiated coverage of the wireless broadband network provider with positive ratings.

AP wrote that analysts from Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Stifel Nicolaus, among others, seemed to agree that the company's stock is a good long-term investment, even though Clearwire will likely lose money for years.

In a note issued this morning, Jefferies & Co. said it too was initiating coverage on Clearwire, rating the company a "buy" with a $22 price target.

"While we view CLWR shares as speculative, given the company's limited operating history, we also believe our PT (price target) is supported by the value of the company's spectrum," it wrote.

As a disclosure, Jefferies acted as co-manager on the company's March initial public offering.

Jefferies also noted a number of risks the company faces:

-- Clearwire is young and has a history of operating losses.

-- The company will need to raise an additional $2.5 billion to $3 billion of financing prior to reaching a fully funded state.

-- Jefferies believes most customers will use Clearwire's service as a complement to existing broadband access, rather than as a replacement, potentially limiting the overall size of the company's addressable market.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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