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Charter has 'no interest' in SoftBank's proposal to buy Sprint

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Charter Communications Inc says it isn't interested in buying Sprint Corp, pouring cold water on reports that the cable giant and wireless provider might combine.

[NEW YORK] Charter Communications Inc says it isn't interested in buying Sprint Corp, pouring cold water on reports that the cable giant and wireless provider might combine.

SoftBank Group Corp Chairman Masayoshi Son had proposed combining his Sprint with Charter, the second largest US cable provider. Son, who is chairman of the US wireless carrier, proposed a cash and stock merger of his money-losing wireless company with Charter, people familiar with the matter have said.

The idea called for the creation of a new publicly traded company that would combine Sprint and Charter and be controlled by SoftBank, the people said. That new merged company would then attempt to buy T-Mobile US Inc, according to one of the people.

"We understand why it is attractive for SoftBank, but Charter has no interest in acquiring Sprint," Charter said in an emailed statement on Sunday.  Charter's management team took Son's proposal to combine with Sprint to its board, which considered it briefly before deciding it was a bad idea, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.

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Mitsuhiro Kurano, a spokesman at Tokyo-based SoftBank, declined to comment.

Since the end of May, Charter and Comcast Corp had been in exclusive talks with Sprint over possible deals, including one that would allow the cable companies to resell wireless service under their own brands. The exclusivity ended last week.

Charter is no longer in talks with Sprint about reselling its wireless service, the person familiar said. Charter plans to join Comcast, the largest US cable operator, in offering wireless service to its customers through a resale agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. In the industry, such an agreement is called a "mobile virtual network operator," or MVNO.

Charter said it has a good MVNO relationship with Verizon and intends to launch wireless services to cable customers next year.

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