The short interest in Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) shares soared for the period that ended May 15, up 37 million to 151 million. It is the third most shorted stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Likely worse, the position is 26% of the float. The bets against Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) are huge.
Sprint has been in trouble for years. It is a wonder Softbank took a controlling interest in 2012, as Sprint was already in decline. In 2015, T-Mobile, which had been little more than a sliver of the market, passed Sprint in number of subscribers. T-Mobile has never looked back. Its ambitions are so strong that it will risk a tie-up with stumbling Sprint to catch AT&T and Verizon in total subscribers.
Sprint investors can worry again about its future on two fronts. The first is that the federal government will block the merger because it might give the new company leverage to overcharge subscribers. If the government does bring an action, and does so successfully, Sprint is forced back into its number four spot in the market without resources to hold its own.
Sprint’s description of itself:
Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served 54.6 million connections as of March 31, 2018 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Today, Sprint’s legacy of innovation and service continues with an increased investment to dramatically improve coverage, reliability, and speed across its nationwide network and commitment to launching the first 5G mobile network in the U.S.