Sprint reportedly eyes spinning off Nextel

It closed its buyout of Nextel less than three years ago

Sprint Nextel Corp. is looking at selling or spinning off its Nextel unit, after acquiring it less than three years ago, according to a news report.

Sprint, which closed its merger with Nextel in August 2005, is looking at several options, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Cyren Call, a company founded by Nextel founder Morgan O'Brien, is looking for investors to acquire Nextel as part of its efforts to provide a wireless network for public safety agencies, such as police and fire departments, the Journal said.

In recent months, Cyren Call has served as an adviser to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, a nonprofit group of public safety agencies that was awarded 10 MHz of wireless spectrum in the 700-MHz band by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Spokespeople for Sprint and Cyren Call weren't immediately available for comment.

The $35 billion merger deal that closed in 2005 created a company with about 44 million mobile subscribers. But Sprint Nextel has posted lackluster financial results, and there has been speculation that Deutsche Telekom or some other company might be interested in buying Sprint.

Sprint in February reported net revenue of $9.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2007, down from $10.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. The company's net loss for the quarter was $29.5 billion, compared with a net income of $261 million a year earlier.

The company is scheduled to report its first-quarter 2008 numbers May 12.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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