Charter Rebuffs Sprint, Still a SoftBank Target?
Charter Communications' stock shot up as much as 14% today, and remained 5% higher, after the cable company said it isn't interested in merging with Sprint, rejecting the complex plan put forward by SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son. There's still speculation, though, that Son will directly purchase Charter, and that may also be impacting its stock price. (See Sprint Proposes Merger With Charter – Report.)
The Wall Street Journal originally reported Son's plans last week, saying he wanted to create a media and communications giant by acquiring Charter Communications Inc. and merging it with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), which SoftBank Corp. already controls.
Of course, speculation still abounds in many quarters that Sprint could still merge with T-Mobile US Inc. All of this is fueled by the fact the wireless operator continues to lose billions of dollars for its parent company, SoftBank, which acquired Sprint in 2013. (See Sprint Is Talking With Warren Buffett? and T-Mobile Adds 1.3M Subs, Stays Quiet on 'Rumorville'.)
Some connection between cable and wireless operators in the US is almost constantly being discussed, despite cable's seeming reluctance to buy its way into a market that is hotly competitive and under serious pricing pressure -- and despite the agreement that Charter and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have in place at least through next May promising that neither will pursue a wireless deal independently. The Charter stock rebound, in the wake of news it wouldn't merge with Sprint, seems to show the market favors cable's view on such mergers. (See Sprint Plus Cable, Still on the Table – Report.)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading