Leap Wireless' Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of indie wireless service provider Leap Wireless International (NAS: LEAP) hopped, skipped, and jumped to a 12% intraday gain on above-average trading volume.

So what: Leap is one of many small operators that AT&T (NYS: T) reportedly approached to ask for help with the pending T-Mobile merger. Unloading some non-critical assets to Leap, US Cellular (NYS: USM) , MetroPCS (NYS: PCS) , and maybe even Sprint-Nextel (NYS: S) might make the two-headed beast look less anticompetitive, according to Bloomberg's nameless sources.

Now what: This is a "Hail Mary" option for AT&T, and a consummated merger would rank right up there with Franco Harris' immaculate reception. The antitrust and anticompetitive hurdles in the way are just too great for a simple flea-flicker of an asset sale to save the day. Nearly all of AT&T's prospective customers outgained the general market on this news, and I'm pretty sure they'll have to give it all back -- this play probably won't happen after all.

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