According to a report at The Wall Street Journal, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son has proposed a merger with Charter. It’s one of several options that have been on the table for Sprint, which is widely regarded as needing one (the carrier is usually described as troubled, suffering, beleaguered, or some combination of the three).
Under the proposed deal, which the WSJ characterizes as “complex,” SoftBank would control the new company that would result from the merger. Both Sprint and Charter have been tossed around as possible merger or acquisition targets for some time. Merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile were happening as recently as this past May, for example.
On the other side of the equation, Verizon was exploring buying Charter earlier this year. Charter, if you don’t remember, bought Time Warner Cable last year, making it the second largest cable provider in the US behind Comcast. And speaking of Comcast, both that company and Charter were reportedly looking to provide wireless services over Sprint’s network as recently as last month. Heck, just yesterday CNBC reported that the two might consider jointly buying the wireless carrier.
Not enough corporate confusion for you? Add SoftBank to the mix. It controls Sprint and also its own huge network back in Japan — not to mention ARM, the company that creates the blueprints for the processors in nearly every smartphone on the plantet.
It’s pretty clear that we’ll see some kind of shake up in the wireless world fairly soon. It seems inevitable that something is going to happen, because Masayoshi Son is clearly keen to make some moves. Two weeks ago, he was reportedly seeking investment in Sprint from Warren Buffett.
Basically, it sounds like everybody is talking to everybody, and everybody wants to at least talk about making some kind of deal. To put a bow on these billion-dollar moves, the WSJ also notes that even if the Sprint Charter merger happens, that doesn’t necessarily “preclude a subsequent tie-up between the new group and T-Mobile.” That means that if SoftBank does succeed in doing something big with Sprint and Charter, that doesn’t mean it’ll be the end of the merger rumors.