T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) CEO John Legere would likely lead a combined company if Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile were to merge, according to a Bloomberg report. Legere is just one of the personalities at the center of the deal, which is being driven by SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son.
According to the report, which cited unnamed sources, Legere, 56, is being favored over Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, 60, who has helmed Sprint since late 2007.
Legere would need to integrate different management teams, cultures and marketing strategies in any combined company, but would also have more resources to take on AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) in the wireless market.
Sprint and T-Mobile declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
Hesse said in early May it theoretically wouldn't bother him not to run the combined Sprint and T-Mobile. "I am 60 years old," he said in an interview with Bloomberg. "I have a lot of things I still want to do in life."
"With Legere in charge, T-Mobile can now really take it to Verizon and AT&T," New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin told Bloomberg. "T-Mobile is loved by regulators. Before, Legere was just half a maverick. After, he will be twice as crazy with double the asset base to work with."
However, Legere himself, though brash and outspoken, isn't really the driving force behind a deal. That falls to Son, who has made it clear that he thinks Sprint needs greater scale to more effectively compete in the market. According to the Wall Street Journal, he has also been frustrated by the pace of the turnaround at Sprint since SoftBank took control of the company last summer. During that same period, Legere and T-Mobile's "uncarrier" brand have been racking up millions of new subscriber additions.
Sprint has been hampered by its network modernization, which executives have said has kept churn elevated, and its rollout of its tri-band Spark LTE service has been slower than some investors would like.
Son himself acknowledged last month at the Re/code Code conference that right now Sprint is lagging behind in LTE coverage and network speed, but promised improvements. "I've only owned the company for six months," he said. "It takes a few years to build. We have to design the network."
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this NYT article
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