Sprint to benefit from AT&T merger with T-Mobile says analyst

Sprint to benefit from AT&T merger with T-Mobile says analyst
Sprint, through its outspoken CEO Dan Hesse, have been one of the loudest objectors to the proposed buyout of T-Mobile by AT&T. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Larsen, the nation's third largest carrier is shooting itself in the foot by trying to get the deal quashed. Besides raising his price target on the stock to $6.50 from $5.00, and his rating from neutral to overweight, the analyst says that the deal will actually help Sprint if it gets completed.

Larsen says that by buying T-Mobile, AT&T could become a monolithic unwieldy giant that might not appeal to some customers, who would most likely end up at Sprint. That thinking makes sense, for if some of T-Mobile's current account holders liked the idea of signing up with the smallest of the top 4 carriers, they might feel lost suddenly being a customer of the largest U.S. carrier. And if the deal does go through, Sprint becomes the smallest of the remaining 3 major U.S. carriers.

There is another reason to expect some AT&T and T-Mobile customers to jump ship-although not necessarily by choice. In areas where the AT&T/T-Mobile customer base is too concentrated because of the merger, the combined company might be forced to divest such markets and Sprint will be there with a net to snatch up new customers. The analyst also feels that after the merger, customers might see prices rise with one less carrier to compete against, helping Sprint's profit margin.

Besides possibly benefiting from the merger, Larsen sees Sprint getting the Apple iPhone this fall. Going out down the road, he expects Sprint to develop its own LTE network instead of continuing to offer 4G through Clearwire's WiMax service.

With all of the potential new Sprint customers that could jump to the carrier if the buyout of T-Mobile is given the green light, it might behoove CEO Dan Hesse to just give up and let nature take its course. And who knows, one day it might just be Hesse on the other side of the story, seeking approval for a buyout of Sprint.

source:Forbes via BGR

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