Go ahead and add AT&T, Comcast, Microsoft, Twitter, Verizon, Alibaba and News Corp. to the ever-growing "short list" of companies that might be interested in acquiring Yahoo's core Internet business.
The carriers' fight to win new customers during the all-important holiday season escalated again this morning with new, dueling promotions from Verizon and T-Mobile.
The Japanese telecom and digital media giant SoftBank is considered a prime candidate as a buyer for Yahoo's core Internet business, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Any such deal would likely have a major impact on Sprint, the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier, which SoftBank acquired in 2013.
Nikesh Arora, the former Google executive who is now president of SoftBank, said that he's not worried about the continued concerns over the future Sprint, of which SoftBank is the majority owner. "I'm very relaxed," Arora told Bloomberg. "I'm here for at least the next 10 years."
About a year ago, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure started to shake up the company's leadership team. Now, that transition to a new set of lieutenants is truly hitting its stride, as the Bolivian-born billionaire has brought in talent from all over the world to try to help him turn around Sprint.
Sprint named one of its top executives, Jaime Jones, as area president of the South as part of the carrier's shift to a regional sales organization. Sprint also named industry veteran Annette Jacobs as president of the Pacific Northwest region, part of its larger West region.
Verizon and AT&T Mobility remain not just far ahead of T-Mobile US and Sprint in terms of subscriber counts, but also in profitability, both on a raw basis and on a per customer basis, according to industry analyst Chetan Sharma.
Regional carrier C Spire Wireless is launching new plans that offer "combination" pricing that it says is more transparent because the price point includes the cost of service, access line charges and the monthly cost of a device payment. The premise is similar in many respects to Sprint's offer of "All-In" pricing, which it touted this past summer but has since dropped.
Sprint will get $1.1 billion in cash from a handset leasing company that has been set up by parent company SoftBank and other investors designed to put the financing of leased devices off of Sprint's balance sheet and provide it with more liquidity. Sprint plans to immediately turn to setting up a similar structure to finance the purchase of network equipment.
Financial and industry analysts are divided over how large of an impact Sprint's new promotion to cut the rate plans of its competitors in half if customers switch will have on Sprint's financials and subscriber performance. Some think it is too little to move the needle while others see it as an opportunity to highlight consumer awareness of its improving network.