Sprint is in talks with Comcast, Charter

Sprint is in talks with Comcast, Charter

Sprint is in talks with Comcast, Charter

The slump followed a report from Reuters that said Sprint had entered talks with Charter and Comcast for a so-called network resale deal that would allow the cable groups to offer wireless services to their customers.

(S) has entered into exclusive talks with Charter Communications Inc. Another topic discussed was Comcast and Charter jointly buying Sprint, though that scenario is less likely, one of the people said.

Three years ago, Sprint ended a previous round of talks to acquire T-Mobile amid opposition from US antitrust regulators.

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Charter and Comcast declined to comment on the WSJ story. At the time, Sprint agreed a business integration with T-Mobile with the aim of becoming a carrier that could challenge industry leader Verizon Communications and No. 2 AT&T. Charter Communications inherited a similar agreement via its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and has said it has plans to introduce a wireless product next year.

Analysts, however, also have suggested that negotiating a deal to combine Sprint and T-Mobile itself would be complex and not certain to work out. Sprint made a run at a T-Mobile deal three years ago but stopped short of seeing approval in the face of nearly certain rejection by Washington. As recently as last week, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure publicly spoke about the benefits of a T-Mobile merger. "The U.S.is bigger than our European business and our management there is fantastic", Tim Hoettges said.

Mr. Malone, a pioneer of the US cable business, has long felt that the cable industry should work closer together to combat threats like Netflix Inc. and the wireless carriers. "The market is too regulated", Hoettges said. Charter ended up acquiring Time Warner Cable previous year, but only at a much more expensive price than initially imagined.

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