Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says he has “no idea what offer” Charter was refusing in its statement earlier this week that the cable company was not interested in a deal to buy the carrier.
According to comments from Claure on Tuesday’s earnings call, Sprint never made such an offer. Thus, Claure says he was “surprised” when Charter made its statement.
“(I have) no idea why Charter said we are not interested in buying Sprint,” Claure comments.
But that doesn’t mean deal talks aren’t happening. Just the opposite.
Claure reveals Sprint has been “speaking with pretty much everybody,” and hints an announcement is “coming in the near future.” Previous reports have placed Sprint in talks with U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile, as well as cable players like Charter and Comcast.
Though Claure didn’t name names, another option apparently on the table is Dish Network. According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, SoftBank is also eyeing a potential merger with the satellite TV provider.
While a match between T-Mobile offers obvious benefits, Claure indicates cable discussions also present perks of their own, namely fiber and content. Claure says it’s no secret cable companies have built infrastructure that could be used by wireless carriers in their densification efforts ahead of 5G. But cable operators also offer the additional prospect of bundled services, which help reduce churn, he adds.
According to MoffettNathanson analysts, though, it’s in Sprint’s best interest to make a decision sooner rather than later.
“The obvious risk in so openly courting one potential suitor after another is that Sprint will increasingly be viewed as damaged goods,” they write in a Tuesday note. “Like an unsold house that has sat too long on the market, as asset that has been shopped too often without success takes on an air of taint.”