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Speculation: Will Comcast Finally Buy Sprint?

Discussion in 'Wireless News' started by UFO, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. UFO

    UFO Bronze Senior Member
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    Will Comcast Finally Buy Sprint? (CMCSA, S)

    As telco giants AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) move deeper into the TV business, cable giants like Comcast (CMCSA) may have to get into the wireless business to compete. That could eventually involve Comcast buying Sprint Nextel (S), the no. 3 U.S. wireless carrier.

    So far, Comcast and its peers have partnered with (and invested in) Clearwire (CLWR), an upstart carrier building out a 4G wireless network using a technology called WiMax. But there's no guarantee WiMax or Clearwire will work. So then what?

    It would probably be easier for Comcast to buy its way into the wireless industry than build its way there: Spectrum is scarce, building a wireless network is hard and takes time, lots of capex, etc.

    So who would Comcast buy? Well, it can't buy AT&T or Verizon Wireless. It's possible that Deutsche Telekom (DT) might part with T-Mobile, but that's not guaranteed.

    So the most logical deal could be for Sprint, which currently has a $12 billion market cap and is slowly turning the corner after several bad years. This potential tie-up has been talked about for years, so it's not a new idea. But it could make sense in the next few years, especially if Clearwire isn't a hit.

    Cable executives have played down the need to have wireless networks for years. But, via Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield (registration required), it sure sounds like they're starting to talk about wireless more seriously. From Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' speech at the cable show in D.C. yesterday:

    “Wireless is a conundrum for the cable industry”
    “AT&T and Verizon are not the elephants in the room, they’re the super elephants, They’ve got all the market share, and it’s going to be a tough road to hoe”
    “Putting a bunch of us in a company with the benefit of Sprint and their infrastructure felt like an interesting road for us to go into”
    Roberts also avoided a clear answer to the question as to whether Clearwire was Comcast’s sole wireless strategy, indicating that Comcast’s “current” focus was making Clearwire successful.
    Greenfield's point: If cable companies do have to build or buy their way into wireless, it's not going to be cheap. And he thinks that kind of capex (or acquisition spend) is "substantially understated" in Wall Street's models.

    Or Perhaps Telefonica?

    http://www.thestreet.com/story/10482031/1/tech-rumor-of-the-day-telefonica.html

    A good rumor often starts with a solid -- albeit small -- nugget of information.
    Here's the rumor: Telefonica (TEF Quote - Cramer on TEF - Stock Picks), the world's No. 4 wireless phone company, is making plans to for a U.S. or U.K. acquisition.

    Here's the nugget of information: Telefonica is soliciting bids from four public relations agencies to handle its image in the U.S. and U.K.

    The four PR firms in the running are: Ketchum, Burson-Marsteller, MS&L and Text 100, according to sources involved with the bakeoff.

    Madrid-based Telefonica has been hitting the acquisition trail lately.

    On Monday, for example, Telefonica was reported to be vying against rival mobile giant Vodafone (VOD Quote - Cramer on VOD - Stock Picks) in a bid for Hansenet, a German broadband service provider, according to a Bloomberg scoop.

    "We work with agencies around the world and do these kinds of things from time to time but have no specific information to offer about any possible change in our current relationships," said Telefonica representative Javier Garcia.

    Some professional media grooming would presumably help Telefonica as it prepares to take a bigger role on the world stage, say industry analysts.

    "An agency can help them form a positive image in the press, so that if they make a takeover in this country, they don't get a reaction like: 'Oh my god, who are these people,' " says Nielsen analyst Roger Entner.

    Telefonica, while big with operations in Europe, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, has very little recognition in the U.S.

    The fact that the company wants to spend money to expand its recognition level in the U.S. and the U.K., suggests a bigger investment is in the cards.

    Likely candidates include Sprint (S Quote - Cramer on S - Stock Picks) and Deutsche Telekom's (DT Quote - Cramer on DT - Stock Picks) T-Mobile unit. Sprint survived a steep swoon in its business last year, losing 4.5 million subscribers and posting a net loss of $2.8 billion. But this year, the stock is up 128% so far as investors take hope in the company's turnaround efforts and, obviously, its role as a buyout candidate.

    More on TEF OLED on a SmartphoneLG Takes a Swipe at AppleAgainst the Grain: Sell Sprint!First Look: New Google PhoneDon't Call it G-2. It's MagicWireless Conference Stages BreakthroughsMad About Options: Verizon on the HorizonSprint Execs' Bonuses Exceed TargetsExpensive, Cool Phone - Cheap PlanPre-Paid Cell Phones' Time Arrives Market Activity Sprint Nextel Corporation| S DOWNTelefonica S.A.| TEF DOWN"I think Sprint is the most logical choice," says Entner. "If the credit markets weren't so bad someone would have picked them up a long time ago."
     
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  2. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Comcast? That would be the end of Sprint.
     
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  3. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    Oh, I hope it isn't Comcrap that gets Sprint. I couldn't stand them when they had a cable presence in the L.A. area. Now that they're gone, I don't miss them one bit.

    ANYONE but Comcast get Sprint (if Sprint is to be had) PLEASE!!!
     
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  4. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    I don't know guys I think I would rather see Comcast than an overseas Korean company or something of that sort.
     
  5. M in LA

    M in LA Mobile 28 Years Plus
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    For me, once having worked at a cable company, I've had experience in seeing how Comcast does things, and because of this I don't see Sprint being any better off with a Comcast takeover than one by another company.

    I hope, if Sprint is sold/bought out/acquired/taken over, the suitor will be a good, solid company that will improve on an already solid product (despite the problems that have plagued Sprint the past several years). I would hate to see Sprint mangled by an inept new owner, of which IMO, Comcast is.
     
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  6. marksgirl

    marksgirl New Member

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    I have to say I have Comcast, and I had Sprint, starting tomorrow I will have Verizon Thank God, and Sprint and Comcast together is another sign of the Apocalypse.
    Comcast is interested in only one thing ,money. Period. They give you the deal for 3 months and then charge you an arm and a leg later. The problem becomes they offer the township, schools,etc. free cable so they are the only game in town.. Comcast has made themselves the only cable company so it is either them or a Dish. Fios is not in the area yet, so your stuck.
    As far as Sprint goes, they used to be a wonderful company, I had them for 10 years, but the past 3 or 4 they have been awful. My coverage has been horrible at my home, the agents at customer service are rude, liars or ignorant about their own product or services. I do have to give credit to Comcast Customer Service, for whatever reason, we always have gotten great people on the other end of the phone, Helpful, polite, funny and knowledgeable. I believe the two together will bring the worst out in each other.
     

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