NEW YORK, May 30 (Reuters) - Shares in Clearwire Corp rose about 20 percent on Thursday after Dish Network Corp offered to buy the wireless operator for $4.40 per share, trumping the latest bid from Sprint Nextel Corp, already Clearwire's majority shareholder.
Shares in wireless operator Clearwire rose to $4.18 in premarket trade after closing at $3.48 in the regular Nasdaq session. Shareholders were due to vote on Friday on Sprint's $3.40 per share offer to acquire the rest of Clearwire it does not own.
Sprint would need approval from more than 50 percent of Clearwire's majority shareholders in order to buy the company.
Dish, also competing against SoftBank Corp to buy Sprint itself, announced its latest offer for Clearwire late Wednesday.
Dish made a $3.30-per-share offer to buy Clearwire in January, countering Sprint's original agreement at $2.97 per share.
"This seriously complicates Sprint's bid for Clearwire," New Street analyst Jonathan Chaplin said in a research note, adding that the offer was good news for Clearwire's minority owners, many of whom are unhappy with Sprint's offer.
But Chaplin also noted complications for Dish, which he said "has conditioned its offer on terms that Sprint can block." One problem for Dish and other potential Clearwire investors is that Clearwire needs approval from Sprint in order to sell the company or accept a new investor. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)