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Sprint Surprises with Profit, Says a Deal May Be Coming Soon

Sprint Surprises with Profit, Says a Deal May Be Coming Soon

Major cost cutting efforts and some compelling promotions, including offering a year of free service, helped Sprint on Tuesday report its first quarterly profit in three years.

Sprint said it cut expenses by about $370 million in the quarter and that it expects an additional $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion of year-over-year reductions in fiscal 2017.

Therefore, the firm believes, irrespective of the potential M&A target, be it Charter, T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ: TMUS), DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH) or someone else, there is a good possibility that SoftBank would pick up the remaining stake in Sprint.

Sprint has added 88,000 postpaid phone connections in the quarter, its eighth consecutive quarter of net additions.

"Sprint reached an important milestone this quarter by returning to profitability for the first time in three years", CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.

"Sprint continued to make progress on its multiyear plan to transform the way it does business and improve its cost structure", Sprint said Tuesday. He also maintained Sprint can be sustainable as a standalone company, but he made it clear the carrier is eagerly pursuing a tie-up with a variety of players. "We've been having a lot of discussions", he said.

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"We've been going at this since the spectrum auction ended", Claure said. But striking a deal with a deep-pocketed partner has become much more hard over the last two years as Sprint has seen its stock rise.

Sprint shares were up 4% in premarket trading. SoftBank has achieved sizable girth through highly leveraged financing of acquisitions like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., for which it has achieved outsized returns, and Sprint, on which it has lost billions.

The offer being considered by Sprint's chairman and SoftBank founder, Masayoshi Son, would be to form a new publicly traded entity that would use SoftBank money to buyout shareholders of both Sprint and Charter at a premium, the people said.

Analysts, on average, expected a net loss of 1 cent per share on revenue of $8.11 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

SoftBank already controls more than 80% of Sprint, whose market cap is around $35 billion, not including roughly the same amount of net debt, following a roughly 7% jump in the stock since The Wall Street Journal first reported contours of the plan on Friday. The spokesman also turned down requests for comments on whether the negotiations would continue or whether a different price would perhaps regain Charter's interest in a possible buy out.

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