Sprint looking for bidders for Nextel unit

Sprint Nextel is looking for bidders for its Nextel unit, and may have found a few suitors already, people close to the negotiations said, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, Sprint is looking to sell off the Nextel unit, which it acquired in 2005, along with its iDEN network. Two possible bidders may be Latin American carrier NII Holdings and the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

In any possible deal, Sprint is looking for the buyer to assume at least $5.4 billion in debt. As late as two weeks ago, Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, told a gathering in New York that the company was looking to fix the Nextel unit and improve the integration, and was not looking to sell. Since 2005, Sprint has fallen behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T mobility in market share as the Nextel unit has struggled to retain subscribers.

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