Finance

Charter, Sprint and HSBC — CORPORATE REPORT

Charter, Sprint and HSBC — CORPORATE REPORT”

Although free cash flow was down $392 million versus an increase of $1.14 billion in the first quarter of 2017, that's only because Sprint culled its debt issuance by $2.3 billion year-over-year, retiring more than it issued in the recently completed quarter. In the same period a year ago, it reported a net loss of $302 million, or 8 cents per share.

Sprint CEO said the cost-reduction program contributed to a return to profitability, as the company reported net income for the first time in three years.

Combining No. 3 T-Mobile and fourth-place Sprint would create an entity large enough to challenge the duopoly of Verizon Communications and AT&T. Prepaid subscribers dropped from 195,000 in the prior quarter to 35,000.

Analysts had been expecting a loss of 1 cent a share on revenue of $8.16 billion, according to Factset.

Sprint reduced postpaid phone churn to 1.5 percent and total postpaid churn was 1.65 percent. That said, the firm thinks the company too will benefit from M&A, either as one of the potential near-term targets of SoftBank or if SoftBank were to merge with Sprint and Charter, then as a potential long-term target for Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA). 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.

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That puzzled Claure, who said repeatedly that Sprint hadn't been offered to Charter. The Stamford, Connecticut-based cable giant has been negotiating with SoftBank's subsidiary Sprint and Comcast over a potential wireless partnership for the last two months, with the Japanese conglomerate reportedly considering a merger bid following that round of exclusive talks.

"We observed last quarter that we've never in our careers encountered a company whose financial reports, on an as-reported basis, make it as hard to discern underlying trends (although, to be fair, the entire wireless sector is problematic on this score)", Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson wrote in a note to investors. 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.

Sprint's shares are up at $8.45 - a 5.89% climb - in morning trading Tuesday.

On the company's post-earnings conference call, Claure said that while Sprint could sustain itself, the synergies that could come with a transaction were significantly better than remaining a standalone entity.



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