Charter, Sprint and HSBC — CORPORATE REPORT

Sprint posts first quarterly profit in three years

Meanwhile, SoftBank's efforts over the past few years to whip Sprint's finances into shape via deep cost cuts and investment in its wireless and sales networks are finally paying off. Sprint reported a $206 million net profit for the April-June quarter Tuesday, marking its first quarter in the black in three years.

Sprint added 88,000 net postpaid (contract) subscribers in the first quarter, compared to net additions totaling 173,000 in the prior year quarter.

Rumors continue to swirl about potential deals with everyone from wireless rival T-Mobile to cable provider Charter Communications. The company has been exploring deal options with T-Mobile US Inc but faces the hurdle of reaching an agreement on price as well as getting the deal approved by regulators.

Subscribers: Sprint enjoyed its eighth consecutive quarter of postpaid phone net additions, and its total net additions of 61,000 included postpaid net losses of 39,000, prepaid net additions of 35,000, and wholesale and affiliate net adds of 65,000.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that the profit was "an important milestone" for the carrier on its way to transform its cost structure. The company lost 8 cents per share in the comparable quarter of the prior year, when it did $8.01 billion worth of business.

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Potential M&A: Claure was understandably coy about which company-or companies-Sprint might be most likely to partner with, saying multiple times that the carrier has "plenty of options". The wireless communications company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.05, compared with a net loss a year ago of $0.08 per share.

That puzzled Claure, who said repeatedly that Sprint hadn't been offered to Charter.

Read between the lines of Sprint Corp.'s quarterly results statement, and it says, "Please buy us". "Hopefully, after a two-month hiatus during which Sprint has been in discussions with cable, the two sides can settle differences and secure the deal that would clearly bring the most value to both companies", analyst Jonathan Chaplin of New Street Research noted on Tuesday.

Shares rose 10.5 percent to $8.82 in morning trading. Sprint owes billions in debt that will come due over the next several years, which will severely limit its ability to leverage its valuable pile of 2.5 GHz spectrum.

He said he was surprised Charter said it was not interested in acquiring Sprint given Sprint was never offered for Charter to buy.



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