SK Telecom and Sprint Nextel; partnership or acquistion?

16 Jul 2008

A report originating from American news provider CNBC has suggested that Korean cellco SK Telecom (SKT) is in talks to acquire US mobile operator Sprint Nextel. Indications are that any talks are in the preliminary stages, with any possible deal unlikely to be announced for some considerable time. Sprint rejected an investment offer from SKT in November 2007, when the the Korean company, in partnership with private equity firms, tabled an offer of USD5 billion. However, both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal have stated that sources close to the talks have claimed that the discussions relate only to possible technology collaborations between the two firms. Neither company has commented directly on the rumours. Sprint, currently third in the US mobile market, saw its subscriber base drop by a million to 52.76 million in the first three months of 2008, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database. SKT is currently the leader in its region, claiming market share of 50.49% at March 2008.