Sprint Might Bite The Shorts

Stocks: (S)(MOT)(INTC)

Sprint has not exactly been a company that has made its shareholders overwhelmingly happy. Customer retention problems after the NexTel merger, poor earnings, and senior management departures have made Wall St. nervous. The promise of Sprint’s $3 billion WiMax network to support its 4G phones is far enough in the future that the market may be discounting it, even if it has the backing of Motorola and Intel.

The legions of skeptics has grown. The short interest in Sprint as of mid-November rose 6.798 million shares to 74.778 million.

The company’s stock price is already low. In April, Sprint’s shares were near $27. After falling to under $17 in August, they are now back near $20.

Short players face the problem that Sprint’s low stock price may be attracting private equity interests. The Wall Street Journal has written that Sprint may have hit the buy-out screens of some of the large firms.

If so, someone is about to lose a lot of money.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at [email protected]. He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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