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[NEW YORK] Comcast Corp and Charter Communications Inc, the two largest US cable companies, met with executives at Sprint Corp in the past month to discuss reselling wireless services or an acquisition, people familiar with the matter said.
The more likely scenario is the cable giants strike a deal that lets them resell services on Sprint's wireless network, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. Another topic discussed was Comcast and Charter jointly buying Sprint, though that scenario is less likely, one of the people said.
Comcast and Charter are entering the wireless business in hopes of adding another product to their suite of services and keep subscribers from leaving. The cable companies are interested in securing a wireless resale agreement with Sprint that includes more favorable terms than what they currently have with Sprint and Verizon Communications Inc, people said. Last fall, Charter's largest shareholder, John Malone, suggested that cable companies could team up to buy a wireless provider like T-Mobile US Inc.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the talks between Sprint and the cable companies. Representatives of SoftBank Group Corp, Sprint, Comcast and Charter declined to comment.
Sprint, which has been battling losses, has fallen to fourth in the US market and controlling shareholder SoftBank is keen to pursue a deal with third-ranked T-Mobile that could boost its scale and subscribers. While Sprint has put discussions for a potential merger with T-Mobile on hold while it talks to Comcast and Charter, negotiations could re-open, one of the people familiar with the matter said.