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Sprint Names New CEO, As T-Mobile Bid Is Said To Crumble

A woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores in New York.
Mark Lennihan
A woman using a cell phone walks past T-Mobile and Sprint stores in New York.

Just as reports surfaced that Sprint, and its corporate parent SoftBank, were ending their bid to merge with T-Mobile, the company announced it was appointing a new CEO.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said Marcelo Claure, who runs Brightstar, a wireless company and subsidiary of SoftBank, would replace Dan Hesse, who has been Sprint's president and CEO since 2007.

In the announcement, Son made a passing reference to Sprint's decision to forgo the T-Mobile merger.

He said: "While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint."

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg all reported the deal's demise based on unnamed company sources. As the Two-Way wrote back in June, the deal was supposed to have been worth $32 billion and would have formed one of the biggest mobile providers in the world, competing with behemoths Verizon and AT&T.

The deal, reports the Times, fell apart when it became clear that antitrust regulators intended to block it.

The Times adds:

"The decision, made at a Sprint board meeting on Tuesday afternoon, is the second failed effort by large American wireless carriers to merge in three years. And it represents a serious blow by SoftBank to develop a big new challenger to the two giants of the American cellphone industry, Verizon and AT&T.

"The end of the deal leaves open the question of what paths Sprint and T-Mobile will forge as smaller competitors to the enormous titans of their industry. Combined, the two control less than a third of the United States' wireless market."

As of Wednesday afternoon, shares of T-Mobile and Sprint have been trading lower on the news.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.