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Latest financials confirm it: Sprint and Nextel probably shouldn't have merged

Chris Ziegler

Well, it looks like the aggressively priced unlimited action really didn't come a moment too soon. We're no economists here, but it doesn't take rocket science, a Ph.D., collegiate level maths, or even a fancy calculator to crunch the cold, hard numbers coming out of Sprint Nextel's fourth quarter earnings call. For starters, the number three carrier in the US reported a net loss of nearly $29.5 billion, which -- get this -- is more than the combined value of its outstanding stock. Let us reiterate for emphasis and drama value: Sprint lost more money in the fourth quarter of 2007 than the company is worth. Wow. If it's any consolation, the staggering figure is largely due to a $29.7 billion write-down of Nextel's value, which as the Wall Street Journal lays out, makes the 2005 merger officially a "Deal From Hell." With postpaid subscribers continuing to migrate to other carriers, there's no telling how to stop the hemorrhaging -- especially if the fresh $99 unlimited plan doesn't end up doing the trick -- but something tells us the move to Kansas isn't going to magically patch it all up.

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