Kansas-based Sprint posts profit for first time in 3 years

Lucy Hill
August 2, 2017

But striking a deal with a deep-pocketed partner has become much more hard over the last two years as Sprint has seen its stock rise.

Amid on-again, off-again merger and acquisition discussion regarding US carrier Sprint, the company on Tuesday morning released Q1 2017 financial reports indicating a return to profitability for the first time in three years.

Debt-heavy Sprint has been trying to turn its business around, and CEO Marcelo Claure said on a call with analysts Tuesday that it could "sustain itself" alone.

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The company also added 88,000 postpaid phone net additions. "We have spoken to everybody and we have choices and when the time is right we going to strike a deal", he said. Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son, who is also chief executive of parent company SoftBank Group Corp., said on Monday he planned to use the resources of his Japan-based technology and telecom holding company to put together a bid to buyout Charter. Rather, he said, it was part of the "bigger play that has been reported". "We've been having a lot of discussions", he said. Rumors continue to swirl about potential deals with everyone from wireless rival T-Mobile to cable provider Charter Communications.

Sprint, which is in the middle of a turnaround plan, has been looking to boost its financial status and better compete amid a fiercely competitive and saturated market for wireless service. Most Americans already have a cellphone, and carriers have been trying to lure them with discounts and the return this year of unlimited-data plans. Sprint now expects operating income of $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion, up from $2 billion to $2.5 billion.

The financing arrangement and other details are emerging as Son plans to merge Charter with SoftBank's struggling U.S. wireless company Sprint Corp. Yes, free. And yet it still lost 39,000 customers during the quarter that ended that month - a huge disappointment, as analysts were predicting a substantial gain instead. Sprint said it reduced the cost of services and SG&A expenses by almost Dollars 370 million in the quarter and expects another USD 1.3-1.5 billion in net savings over the full fiscal year. Analysts had expected a loss of 1 cent per share. Revenue rose 2 percent to $8.16 billion. CEO Marcelo Claure credited the company's ongoing cost-cutting initiatives, which have seen Sprint slash spending by almost $4 billion over the last nine quarters.

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