Comcast and Charter’s joint talks with No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier Sprint are unlikely to produce a buyout or other major deal, predicts Moody’s Senior VP Neil Begley.
"In our view, the discussions are unlikely to lead to a material or transformative transaction,” Begley wrote in a note to investors today. “Sprint is still in turnaround mode and has high debt and leverage levels and negative free cash flow. Sprint has underinvested in its network and we believe it needs to dramatically ramp capital spending to remain competitive. In our opinion, neither of these make Sprint a likely acquisition target for Comcast and Charter in our view. An acquisition of Sprint is not necessary for an agreement that benefits all sides. Sprint would benefit from a reduction in investment if it can access the cable companies’ infrastructure."
On Tuesday, it was reported by the The Wall Street Journal that Sprint had entered a two-month exclusive negotiating window with Comcast and Charter. The latter two cable companies had agreed in May to combine their efforts in terms of developing wireless technologies and entering into wireless deals.
Meanwhile, in the investor notes, Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack lowered second-quarter growth estimates for both cable giants today.
McCormack is sticking by his prediction of 140,000 lost video subscribers for Charter, as it continues to lose transitioning Time Warner Cable customers. However, the very seasonal nature of the Florida-situated Bright House Networks acquisition caused the analyst to bump up internet subscriber growth to 235,000.
For Comcast, meanwhile, McCormack lowered video subscriber projections, predicting that the No. 1 MSO will lose around 25,000 TV users in the second quarter. He also lowered his high-speed internet growth prediction to 180,000 customers.