Report: SK Telecom in talks to acquire Sprint

A deal is not imminent, and Sprint's board of directors is said to be divided on the deal.

Updated at 2:22 p.m. PDT. See below.

South Korea's largest wireless provider is said to be in discussions with Sprint about a potential acquisition, according to a report on CNBC's Web site.

Citing "people familiar with the situation," CNBC says that SK Telecom is interested in acquiring the much larger Sprint Nextel, but that any deal is still "weeks away," and that Sprint's own board of directors is "divided" about whether to sell the company at all.

The report says that SK Telecom will not pursue Sprint if it is not open to acquisition, and that no specific negotiation price has been discussed.

SK Telecom is significantly smaller than Sprint Nextel--with 22 million subscribers, compared to 54 million--and would likely need to partner with private equity firms to get any potential deal done. But it's also unclear whether U.S. regulators would go for selling the company to a foreign operator.

It's not the first time the beleaguered wireless operator has been rumored to be for sale. In early May, there were reports it was in discussions with Deutsche Telekom about an acquisition.

Update: This looks to be a false alarm. Both Reutersand the Wall Street Journal are citing other sources that say the talks are about collaborating on technology, and not about an acquisition.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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