Why Leap Wireless Shares Popped

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 the No. 6 wireless provider in the U.S., Leap Wireless (NAS: LEAP) , jumped as much as 11% after reports came out that it and MetroPCS Communications (NYS: PCS) held talks in a possible three-way merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile.

So what: According to reports and an SEC filing, MetroPCS, which announced a deal with T-Mobile just weeks earlier, disclosed that it had been in discussions with a third-party business. A person familiar with the situation identified Leap Wireless as that nameless third-party business.

Now what: Prepaid-wireless companies like MetroPCS and Leap have been losing customers hand-over-fist for the past couple of quarters. A move to 4G LTE networks and into more affordable smartphones has given those with poor credit or low incomes access to a greater variety of phones on an increasing number of providers. Unsurprisingly, Leap lost 269,000 subscribers last quarter and has fallen far behind its peers in terms of building out its 4G LTE network. A merger seems like the smartest move for Leap, however, it seems unlikely that shareholders could expect much of a premium if one were to occur simply given how little Leap can now bring to the table. To me, this seems like a situation worth avoiding altogether.

Craving more input? Start by adding Leap Wireless to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

The article Why Leap Wireless Shares Popped originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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