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- Sprint Nextel deal complicates tower bid, Liberty says
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|01-11-2005, 03:53 PM||#1|
Sprint Nextel deal complicates tower bid, Liberty says
Sprint Corp.'s proposed $35 billion merger with Nextel Communications Inc. may have produced its first casualty.
Reuters is reporting that Liberty Media Corp., one of a handful of likely bidders for Sprint's 6,500 cell phone towers, is having second thoughts in the wake of the Sprint-Nextel deal. News reports have identified Liberty and Global Signal Inc. as two of four companies believed to have made bids on the towers.
Liberty Media CEO Robert Bennett, speaking to investors at a Smith Barney media conference broadcast over the Internet, said his company's interest in buying towers from Sprint had been complicated because the merger could prevent Liberty from using its shares in a tower deal.
Bennett recently said that buying towers could be a tax-efficient way of transforming its stake in Sprint of nearly 8 percent into a more active investment. The nature of the Sprint-Nextel deal, a mostly stock transaction, would prevent Liberty from using its Sprint shares in a tower deal, he said.
“That complicates substantially the way we were looking at it,” he said. Bennett added that without being able to offer up Sprint shares, Liberty may not be in “a position to outbid the private equity firms or the other tower companies.”
Sprint spokesman Scott Stoffel said the company was looking at its options for its wireless towers. Estimates place the value of the towers are more than $1 billion.
Sprint previously has said it expects to make a decision on the towers in the first quarter.
• Sprint's merger partner Nextel today said its subscriber base increased 22 percent, or 2.9 million, in its 2004 calendar year, according to Reuters. Nextel said it ended the calendar year with 16.2 million total subscribers, including some 15 million Nextel subscribers and 1.2 million Boost Mobile customers. A combined Sprint and Nextel will have about 38 million subscribers.
The Kansas City Star
|01-11-2005, 07:36 PM||#2|
this is only complicated for liberty sprint should have no effect it sounds like there are other people ready to bid and liberty just wont be one of the people bidding at least not with sprint shares as part of the bid price
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