September 21, 2011
During a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York today, Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse hinted that Sprint may try to buy T-Mobile if the AT&T merger falls through.
This news is not only revealing but also hypocritical as Sprint has positioned itself as the main opponent to the AT&T deal.
Hesse tried to make the case that somehow the U.S. Department of Justice would consent to the elimination of one of four national competitors, which in the worlds of the DOJ complaint would “result in a significant loss of competition, if the buyer were #3 Sprint and not #2 AT&T.
“Hesse disagreed with the notion that the U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to block the merger would bode poorly for Sprint’s own attempt to buy T-Mobile if the AT&T deal were to fall through.” [CNET.com, 9/21/11]
“My view is [the DOJ] would look at other consolidation very differently,” Hesse said. “I am not saying whether Sprint or T-Mobile, if this didn’t happen, would merge or not or whether we have an interest in that or not. But you could make a very, very strong argument.” [MarketWatch.com, 9/21/11]
While Hesse attempted to be coy about Sprint’s true objectives, his message to Wall Street was clear. Forget what we may be telling regulators in Washington about the anti-competitive impact of a merger among top wireless companies. Our real aim is to block an AT&T/T-Mobile combination so that Sprint can come in and buy T-Mobile’s assets at a bargain price.