WSJ: Sprint, Level 3 discussing long-haul JV

Days after Qwest Communications confirmed that it would not sell its long-distance network at this time, Level 3 Communications, a long-time M&A driver that was considered among the candidates to buy the Qwest network, reportedly is talking to Sprint about a joint venture under which the two companies could combine networks. The Wall Street Journal reports that the companies have been talking about a possible deal for some weeks, though it is not clear whether the talks were a by-product of the Qwest bidding process, or had proceeded on a completely separate parallel.

The companies also could consider something less structured than a joint venture, like a network sharing agreement, the WSJ says. Either way, the indication is that Sprint doesn't want to sell its long-distance network out-right. The wireline part of Sprint doesn't get all that much attention, though it brought in $6.3 billion in revenue last year and accounted for about 17 percent of Sprint's total revenue.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story

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