Sprint's Board Won't Touch MetroPCS with an $8 Billion Stick

Sprint was reportedly just hours away from an multi-billion dollar acquisition of the MetroPCS network. Then the company's board got involved. Now, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse might be running for his professional life.

The acqusition had been weeks in the making and could have been announced as early as today. However, Sprint's board met Wednesday and nixed the deal. According to an unnamed Reuter's source, "Sprint's board and management decided to pull out because it was not the right time to do the deal." Sprint is already saddled with a $7 billion network upgrade as well as a bill for $15 billion for the rights to carry the iPhone. Picking up MetroPCS would have included a significant amount of debt that the already cash-strapped Sprint would have to take over and the last thing Sprint needs right now is a repeat of the 2005 Nextel debacle.

This outcome is more than just a bit of egg on the face of CEO Dan Hesse. To have a deal fall apart this late in the negotiations and to come at the hands of the board of directors rather than the CEO himself is essentially "a vote of no-confidence," Kevin Roe of Roe Equity Research told Reuters. [Reuters]