Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Softbank reportedly set to make another pass at a Charter-Sprint union

Softbank reportedly set to make another pass at a Charter-Sprint union

"Sprint reached an important milestone this quarter by returning to profitability for the first time in three years", said Marcelo Claure, Sprint chief executive.

Sprint said it cut its cost of services and selling, general and administrative expenses by about $370 million in the quarter and that it expects an additional $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion of year-over-year reductions in fiscal 2017. In the same period a year ago, it reported a net loss of $302 million, or 8 cents per share.

"We've been going at this since the spectrum auction ended", Claure said. "That's the first indication of a sustainable turnaround".

On the company's post-earnings conference call, Claure said that while Sprint could sustain itself, the synergies that could come with a transaction were significantly better than remaining a standalone entity.

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SoftBank Group's search for a partner for USA wireless unit Sprint has borne little fruit so far, with candidates inside and outside the industry proving unreceptive to the Japanese technology giant's overtures.

The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that Sprint proposed a merger with Charter, an offer since rebuffed by the cable company. The statement comes just a few days after a report that Masatoshi Son, the chairman of Sprint has been engaged in acquisition talks with Comcast and Charter. "That caught us a little off guard". Revenues were also up slightly year-on-year, but customer growth continues to lag its rivals in the United States mobile market.

Sprint said Tuesday that it should be able to "strike a deal" in the "near future", driving up shares of the fourth-largest USA wireless carrier. Average revenue per user on the Sprint platform fell by about $4 per month year over year for postpaid subscribers and rose by more than $5.00 per prepaid customer compared with the first quarter of 2016.

A deal is coming, he promised, adding he was "highly encouraged" by early talks with potential partners.

"We have plenty of options, and we've had discussions with a lot of different parties", he said. But Sprint's results were largely in line, with most financials beating analysts' expectations while subscriber growth fell a bit shy of consensus estimates.

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