Update – The Wall Street Journal is reporting that negotiations between Sprint and SK Telecom are for strategic partnership considerations, not a merger. The two are apparently looking at ways to collaborate on issues like handset and application development.
The rumor mill has started again on Sprint. There are reports that Sprint is in play to be acquired by SK Telecom of Korea. SK Telecom is one of Korea’s largest wireless providers and has tried to enter the U.S. market before. Several years ago they partnered with Earthlink on the failed Helio MVNO. The remnants of Helio were recently sold to Virgin Mobile. Sprint takeover rumors have been circulating for the past year, with other rumored suitors to have been Alltel, Verizon, and even Comcast. SK also tried an earlier investment in Sprint for $5 billion, tied to the insertion of former Nextel CEO (and former Sprint Chairman after the Sprint-Nextel merger debacle) Tim Donahue as CEO. That plan was rejected by Sprint’s board, and Dan Hesse, formerly of Embarq, was appointed CEO.