Rumor Mill: AT&T looking at Leap?

AT&T Mobility may be considering a purchase of Leap Wireless, according to the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column.

The rumor gained legs after AT&T and Leap both decided to cancel visits to the J.P. Morgan Telecom, Media and Technology conference in Boston this week. AT&T also canceled its planned appearance at a Barclays Capital conference next week. Speculation is that Leap might be an attractive and relatively inexpensive purchase for AT&T. With Leap's stock at around $40 per share, the carrier's market cap stands at around $2.8 billion.

However, Matthew Wurtzel at TheDeal.com wrote that the WSJ may be,well, leaping to conclusions, since Leap runs a CDMA network while AT&T favors GSM. Nonetheless, AT&T recently agreed to purchase some of Verizon Wireless' divested Alltel assets, which is CDMA territory.

Both AT&T and Leap declined to comment on the speculation. A Leap spokesman said that company could not attend the J.P. Morgan conference because of an unspecified "scheduling issue." AT&T begged off its appearances due to its ongoing labor troubles, according to the WSJ.

For more:
- see this WSJ item
- see this TheDeal.com post

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