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Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Gregory Davidson just shepherded client Intel Capital through a $600 million investment in Clearwire Corp., which is developing a national high-speed wireless Internet technology network called WiMax. The deal was announced July 5 as part of a $900 million funding round for Clearwire that also included Motorola and its investment arm, Motorola Ventures. Motorola is buying Clearwire’s NextNet Wireless subsidiary for an undisclosed amount. The combined deal represents the “single largest round of venture financing in the United States,” said Jessica Canning, a research manager with Dow Jones VentureOne. In 2002 and 2003, she says there were two larger investments made in a semiconductor company headquartered in China. The combined deal is also the largest investment that Intel Capital has ever made. Intel’s huge play demonstrates the company’s interest in setting up the next generation of technology, lawyers for the company said. “A national WiMax network is not built on spare change,” said Davidson. “It requires dollars with lots of zeroes in them.” As it turns out, the Palo Alto-based Davidson also did some pretty fast lawyering to make the whole deal happen. “There were ongoing discussions among Intel and Clearwire folk in the background,” said Davidson. “But from the time the trigger was pulled for us until the signing was about 17 days.” During the negotiations with Intel and Motorola, Clearwire also had an IPO registration pending. However, it withdrew it after signing the deal to get the private financing round. That was “another little added twist,” Davidson said. Canning added that another “remarkable” feature of the deal was that despite its investment, Intel doesn’t have a majority stake in Clearwire. “It’s a lot of money,” Davidson agreed, “but Clearwire has already raised a lot of money, and they have networks in a number of cities. It isn’t a startup.” Also representing Intel Capital were Gibson Palo Alto partner David Kennedy, San Francisco of counsel Michael Reed and associate Matthew Samuels, and Los Angeles associates Benjamin Broderick, Mary Ruth Hughes and Dora Arash. Intel’s in-house counsel working on the deal included Kathi Anne Rawnsley, Delia Kohnert and Lynn Blough. Clearwire was represented by GC Broady Hodder and Davis Wright Tremaine Seattle partners Julie Weston and Portland, Ore., partner David Baca.

Marie-Anne Hogarth

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