Sprint focusing on deal with Softbank

Merger arbitrage on steroids

Sprinting away? 

According to sources close to the matter, Sprint is unlikely to make a counteroffer for MetroPCS Communications as it is focusing on closing its $20.1-billion deal with Japan’s Softbank. Sprint announced in October that Softbank would buy up to a 70% stake in Sprint. The company now thinks that making a bid for MetroPCS, which agreed to a takeover by Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile U.S.A. could complicate the regulatory review of its deal with Softbank, according to the sources.

Once approval is secured, Sprint may revisit a deal with MetroPCS. Shares of MetroPCS rallied late last week on speculation that Sprint may make an offer for the company, with the majority of the gains wiped out with Tuesday’s report. The speculation was fuelled by a delay in Sprint and Softbank’s proxy statement to be provided to the SEC, which some thought may be due to a possible purchase of MetroPCS. However, people close to the matter said the delay was due to negotiations between Sprint and Clearwire (CLWR) regarding and interest payment and accounting implications related to Sprint’s recent deal to acquire assets from U.S. Cellular (USM).

MetroPCS (PCS : NYSE : US$9.96), Net Change: -0.81, % Change: -7.52%, Volume: 17,611,063 Sprint Nextel (S : NYSE : US$5.68), Net Change: -0.04, % Change: -0.70%, Volume: 27,903,620

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