Sprint Prime to Acquire Leap Wireless or Other Smaller Carrier: Report
Sprint's stock is performing better than it has in years, says Bloomberg, putting it in a position to consider growing its base through an acquisition.Sprint has been playing catch-up to Verizon Wireless and AT&T for years. But with CEO Dan Hesse's three-part plan to get the derailed carrier back on track beginning to show results, the nation's third-largest carrier is attracting attention, and may be ready for an acquisition, Bloomberg reported Sept. 26. In 2005, Sprint made what turned out to be a disastrous decision to buy Nextel. With incompatible networks, customers fleeing and a warranted reputation for terrible service, Hesse was hired in 2007 to fix things. He has since put in a place a plan to close down the Nextel network, struck a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone, and, despite a number of obstacles, begun rolling out a Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network alongside Sprint's WiMax network. During the second quarter, reports Bloomberg, Sprint's cash and equivalents—which fell to $2.1 billion after the Nextel acquisition—rose to a six-year high of $7.6 billion during the first quarter and held steady at $6.8 billion as of June 30. While Sprint's more than $20 billion of debt is far from desirable, the strength of its stock price, analysts told Bloomberg, suggests it could find smaller carriers potentially willing to strike a deal. It's said that Sprint might consider prepaid brands MetroPCS and Leap Wireless, and even T-Mobile was named as a possibility. Sprint and T-Mobile operate on different technologies, however, which would greatly complicate such a deal, and then there's the matter of gaining the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which AT&T—certainly by no lack of effort—failed to do during its 2011 bid to buy T-Mobile.