Another day, another report that Leap Wireless International is in the market to sell or merge with another carrier.
This time, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company has hired advisers and formed a special board committee to look into the matter. Citing several people familiar with the matter, the Journal says Goldman Sachs Group was hired to advise the company as it reassesses alternatives.
A Leap Wireless spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.
The idea of Leap selling or otherwise merging with another carrier comes up quite frequently. In September 2007, Leap rejected an unsolicited proposal from MetroPCS Communications to merge. A year later, the two reached a national roaming agreement and settled litigation related to intellectual property.
Now, according to the Journal, Leap’s advisers have been feeling out larger wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless to see if they would be interested in acquiring the company.
If talks were to progress further, any deal likely would face tighter scrutiny by the FCC than years past. The largest carriers already have acquired many smaller ones – through deals approved by previous commissions – and the current composition of the FCC has signaled an aggressive stance in overseeing the competitiveness of the wireless industry.
According to the Journal, Leap’s committee to assess strategic options includes Ronald Kramer, William Roper and former CEO of Nextel Partners John Chapple.
Leap reports its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 25. At the end of the third quarter last year, the no-contract carrier reported about 116,000 net customer additions.