Analysts said it made sense for money-losing Sprint to look for ways
to improve its finances, even though it does not face an imminent
liquidity crisis. Sprint ended the second quarter with a $23 billion
debt, and cash and marketable securities of $3.5 billion.
"Every piece of the business is for sale at a certain price right now because they continue to struggle," said King.
But he noted that an investment in the iDen network, rather than an
outright purchase, could make more sense for NII, which operates in
countries such as Mexico and Brazil that have faster wireless growth
rates than the United States.
The iDen network has faced technical issues Sprint says it has
fixed, but customer cancellations have been exacerbated by the
weakening U.S. economy and Sprint expects to continue to lose iDen
customers in the next few quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Sprint took an impairment charge of $29.7 billion to write off most of the value of Nextel.
Stanford Group analyst Michael Nelson questioned whether Sprint
would be able to find a private equity buyer in such a tough credit
"Even if they want to sell iDen, I don't think there's a buyer," Nelson added.
Pali Capital analyst Walter Piecyk said in research note that Sprint
could attract multiple bidders willing to pay $5 billion or less for
the network, without naming suitors.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Hall in Philadelphia, Editing by Derek Caney and Andre Grenon)
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