Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead has declared that he has no interest in buying Sprint Nextel. Verizon, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, will lose its top position in the US wireless market due to a recently announced decision by AT&T to acquire T-Mobile.
"We're not interested in Sprint. We don't need them," Mead told Reuters ahead of the CTIA Wireless Conference. In regards to the AT&T/T-Mobile deal having to go through US regulatory approval, he said: "Anything can go through if you make enough concessions." The deal will likely be approved if the companies agreed to certain conditions, and AT&T is expected to have to sell some assets.
Late last week, AT&T announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $39 billion. Interestingly, Mead said he would not oppose AT&T's plans because he does not want his company to be distracted from its goal of being the most profitable US wireless operator.
Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse is a lot more worried about AT&T's decision to acquire T-Mobile than Verizon's CEO appears to be. He said he's concerned that the deal will hurt his company and the industry, as the biggest two players strengthen their dominance. "I do have concerns that it would stifle innovation and too much power would be in the hands of two," Hesse said in a panel discussion at cellphone conference in Orlando, Florida, according to The Associated Press.
Mead's cool stance is very odd. More often than not, companies are up in arms when their competitors join forces against them. It's possible that the Verizon CEO is banking on the merger slowing the two down while his company plows ahead.