|Charter Rebuffs Sprint's Merger Proposal |
By \Alex Sherman
July 28, 2017
Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
Charter Communications Inc. isn’t interested in a merger with Masayoshi Son’s Sprint Corp. following a published report that the Japanese billionaire was seeking such a deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Son, who is Sprint Corp.’s chairman, proposed a merger of his struggling wireless company with Charter, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. SoftBank Group Corp. spokesman Matthew Nicholson did not immediately respond to email and voice messages seeking comment.
The proposal called for the creation of a new publicly traded company that would combine Sprint and Charter and be controlled by Son’s SoftBank, the newspaper reported. Since the end of May, Charter and Comcast Corp. had been in exclusive talks with Sprint over possible deals, including one that would allow the cable companies to resell wireless service under their own brands. The exclusivity ended this week.
The closing of that window paved the way for Sprint to resume discussions with T-Mobile US Inc. or other partners, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News earlier this week. The cable companies are interested in a reselling deal that would let them offer Sprint’s wireless service under their own brands.
A combination of Sprint and Charter would put together the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier with the No. 2 U.S. cable company. Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas, has a market value of almost $33 billion and even more in long-term debt. Revenue totaled $33.3 billion in the past 12 months. Son’s SoftBank holds an 83 percent stake in the carrier.
Charter, located in Stamford, Connecticut, has a market value of more than $100 billion and long-term debt of more than $63 billion. Its revenue totaled $40.8 billion in the past year.
Cable billionaire John Malone holds a 21 percent stake in Charter through his Liberty Broadband company.
— With assistance by Pavel Alpeyev, and Chris Cooper