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Sprint Attempts, Pulls Back from Buyout of MetroPCS; Wall Street Questions Management

Phillip Dampier February 27, 2012 Competition, Consumer News, MetroPCS, Sprint, Video, Wireless Broadband No Comments

An aborted takeover attempt of MetroPCS by America’s third largest cell phone company — Sprint Nextel has some on Wall Street calling for the hide of Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

The proposed multibillion dollar takeover of prepaid provider MetroPCS, which offers mostly urban service in select cities, was vetoed late last week by Sprint’s own board of directors.

The deal would have delivered a 30 percent premium to MetroPCS shareholders, and further consolidate America’s wireless marketplace. It would have also further complicated Sprint’s financial position — already heavily indebted as it commits to a major 4G wireless service upgrade and deals with an even more expensive commitment to Apple to pitch the iPhone on Sprint’s network.

Reuters reports some investors considered the deal a mistake and are glad it was aborted.

A 30 percent premium seemed “irrational” and would have hurt Sprint shareholders, Roe Equity Research Kevin Roe told the news service.

“He’s on a short leash,” Roe said. “The board did the right thing, thank God. It’s remarkable this deal got this far.”

MetroPCS competes with Sprint’s prepaid services in several regions including metropolitan New York City, northeastern Texas, southern California, southern Michigan and central/southern Florida.  MetroPCS operates its own 4G LTE network.

Now that MetroPCS is considered “in play,” it is likely other suitors may consider buying the company out.  Among the most likely — Leap Wireless, which owns Cricket and operates a comparable service.

Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research has told investors the wireless industry continues to be “crying out for consolidation.”  The most important players in that consolidation story are T-Mobile and Sprint, which remain potential partners if the two companies can overcome their technology differences.  T-Mobile operates a GSM network incompatible with Sprint-Nextel.

CNBC reports Sprint walked away from a takeover attempt of MetroPCS on Friday.  (3 minutes)

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  • Dave: Please post your references for your assertion that ATT made a $70,000 donation. All google searches just link back to you for this....
  • Phillip Dampier: That is a relief. I have WH-DVR service here, mostly so I can watch MSNBC Morning Joe and get annoyed by the always mercurial Joe Scarborough, which i...
  • hillary clinton: if you need a set top box on each tv for $7 my price will go up for that also unless I use a roku stick. $7 x $4 is $28 TWC I only use 1 hd box a...
  • James R Curry: It's also worth noting that in Maxx areas, 50/5 is the same price as 15/1 in non-Maxx areas. So without the Charter buy out, you would have eventuall...
  • Ricardo S: The DVR is treated as an umbrella charge. For example: customer wants 4 DVR's so cost would be 4.99 a piece and one 19.99 DVR service fee. Modem cost ...
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  • Phillip Dampier: You missed my point. Many customers prefer a lower price over faster speed. You started with 50/5Mbps. Most TWC customers choose to pay for 15/1Mbps b...
  • Jk: The article is misleading. You compare the price of 15/1 internet to the price of Charter 60? I have 50/5 from a TW non max area, but I'm paying close...
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  • Andy: Thought maybe AT&T and Verizon would consolidate all the land lines in the U.S. at one point. With Verizon shedding systems year after year, I gue...

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