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Sprint offers to buy rest of Clearwire

NEW YORK — Sprint has offered to buy the 49 percent of Clearwire Corp. it doesn’t already­ own for $2.1 billion.

The deal would allow Sprint, the third-largest US carrier, to take control of a company formed four years ago that has struggled financially and lacked funds for a network upgrade.

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Sprint said its board has ­reviewed the $2.90-per-share offer. Shares of Clearwire jumped 15 percent to $3.15.

Sprint uses Clearwire’s network to provide Sprint 4G but is building its own 4G network and wants Clearwire to upgrade its network with compatible technology.

Sprint, which in late October got a $20.1 billion infusion from Softbank Corp. in exchange for a controlling stake, is struggling against Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Sprint has more than 56 million subscribers, compared to AT&T’s 105.2 million and Verizon’s 94.2 million. Number four T-Mobile­ has over 33 million US customers.

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