Marcelo Claure's Sprint CEO stint officially ended Thursday, May 31, with the 47-year-old now being elevated to the role of Executive Chairman which will see him continue leading the company alongside Chief Financial Officer Michel Combes, much like the firm announced last month. Mr. Claure has been helming Sprint for nearly four years, having taken the reins of the Overland Park, Kansas-based network operator in August of 2014. Following years of aggressive cost-cutting efforts and investments, Sprint returned to profit just recently, having even posted its most lucrative quarter to date this May. The company is still believed to be overleveraged, having found a potential exit in a tie-up with T-Mobile which the duo agreed earlier this spring.
Sprint and T-Mobile negotiated a consolidation in the form of an all-stock deal valued at approximately $26.5 billion which would leave Deutsche Telekom with a controlling stake in the new firm. While a merger has been on-and-off for years, the tipping point that allowed for it to finally be agreed is understood to have been reached after SoftBank conceded to cede control of the combined entity to the German telecom giant. If approved, the merger would create a wireless carrier that's within striking distance of AT&T in terms of subscribers, with T-Mobile and Sprint previously saying they're hoping for all regulatory clearances to be provided by the end of the first half of 2019. Many industry analysts believe it's too early for attaching specific timelines to the completion of the deal, giving it a 50-50 chance of being approved at all.
While neither Verizon nor AT&T spoke out against the merger and apparently have no plans to do so, Washington's recent antitrust policies aren't indicative of an easy road to federal approval for Sprint and T-Mobile. With their proposed deal directly taking out a major competitor from the wireless market, the Department of Justice may demand significant concessions from the duo before entertaining the idea of reducing the number of national mobile service providers from four to three.
Yesterday was my last day as @Sprint CEO. I remember one of my first days at @Sprint was the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Definitely a memorable way to start, and I'm excited to continue to be a part of @Sprint as Executive Chairman. pic.twitter.com/CP4zDbmxA3
— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) May 31, 2018