Sprint employees offered buyouts; iPCS suit continues

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 7:30am
Evan Koblentz

Sprint Nextel employees in non-customer-facing departments are being asked to consider voluntary layoffs, while the Supreme Court of Illinois again denied Sprint’s request to appeal a 2006 decision requiring its exit from certain markets.

It’s part of a larger downslide for Sprint. The nation’s third-largest wireless carrier announced a quarterly loss of $326 million last week (story here), not quite as large as in the previous quarter, but it also announced decreased revenue and additional customer churn. Sprint’s stock closed at $3.37 that day and tumbled to Sprint, iPCS, Nextel, Clearwire$1.95 yesterday.

Now, the Kansas City Star reported today, an unspecified number of Sprint’s 57,000 employees are being offered buyout packages, although no target numbers are being announced. Employees must decide by Dec. 3, after which Sprint will evaluate whether other moves are necessary, the newspaper said.

On the legal front, Sprint now has extra time to remove its Nextel network from the Midwest territory of affiliate company iPCS. In a statement today, iPCS said it’s displeased with that decision, but satisfied with the overall result in its favor.

The companies are scheduled to meet again next month, this time in a Delaware court, where iPCS seeks to prevent the Sprint-Clearwire merger until the current affiliate disagreements are settled.

Possible outcomes include Sprint finally exiting iPCS territories, a financial settlement or Sprint acquiring iPCS.

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