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August 10, 2007

Clearwire to buy part of Amp'd Mobile?

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 12:48 PM

Two online publications are reporting today that Clearwire will acquire about 50 employees from Amp'd Mobile's content division out of its bankruptcy proceedings to build out an offering for the Kirkland company's upcoming mobile WiMax network.

The move would be really interesting because Clearwire to date has been a network company -- and its founders, led by Craig McCaw, have all been network people.

Clearwire declined to comment on whether the rumors were true; phone calls to Amp'd and to Amp'd's bankruptcy attorney went unanswered,

For now, who knows if it is true?

RCR Wireless said that reportedly Clearwire has reached a deal, but it didn't quote a single source.

MocoNews.net reported that the transaction has taken place, adding that Amp'd Mobile's founder and former CEO Peter Adderton and most of management for its content team "are close to joining" Clearwire.

It further said, the team moving to Clearwire includes Seth Cummings, Amp'd's former secnior vice president of content, who is the current executive producer of "Lil Bush on Comedy Central." MocoNews said that Cummings had already changed his LinkedIn profile to reflect the move, but a check of the site lists him simply as a media and entertainment consultant.

Sprint Nextel, which is also rolling out a WiMax network, announced recently that it was going to work with Google to build a portal for the wireless broadband service.

Perhaps Clearwire was looking for an equivalent content partnership.

Roger Entner, an analyst at IAG Research, said he hadn't heard the deal was completed, but that it would make sense for Clearwire to start beefing up its content initiatives if a service and new devices were going to be available during the first half of next year.

Entner disagreed that it may be an equivalent to the Sprint Nextel and Google announcement.

"I'm not sure if they'd use the team to do a portal. More likely it's more for dedicated content that may or may not be tailored to whatever device that would be used," he said. "The Google thing -- that's a pretty vanilla portal, similar to an Internet portal. To me, the important thinkg that says is that they have the search and advertising piece. That's implied by that."

Regardless, the market seems to be responding positively to the potential pair. The company's stock, which dropped significantly after it reported a wider than expected second-quarter loss, gained about 5 percent today, or $1.20 to $27 a share in late afternoon trading.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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Angel Gonzalez
Angel Gonzalez
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