August 4, 2017: For a few years now, Sprint has been shopping for a buyer to invest in the company. Sprint has lost customers, replaced its management, and froze any capital plans until a new purchaser is found. The pace of behind-the-scene deal making has picked up in recent months, with rumors that it would be picked up by T-Mobile, Comcast, Charter Communications have all been to be purported facts, then rumors then facts. Until Sprint’s fate is sealed with a purchaser, it will continue to flounder because it is out of capital and cash to make it on its own. The implication to Sprint cell tower and rooftop landlords is that Wall Street buyers are hesitant in purchasing Sprint leases, which has adverse implications to Sprint leases owned by landlords.
There are still some Buyers who are hopeful that Sprint will continue to be a force in the wireless industry. They are still buying up Sprint leases for now. But as soon as an announcement is made that Sprint has agreed to be acquired, landlords can expect that their Sprint leases will have no monetary value to Wall Street purchasers. This is because the risk of having those sites terminated is too high.
Property owners of Sprint cell sites need to be aware that there is a strong likelihood of their Sprint lease value becoming zero in the open market. These things happen as we have seen with Nextel (acquired by Sprint), Cricket (acquired by AT&T) and MetroPCS (acquired by T-Mobile.