Sprint (S) - Get Report and its extended family continue to embrace the incoming Trump administration, as the carrier said after the close Wednesday that it would create or bring back 5,000 U.S. jobs.
"We are excited to work with President-Elect Trump and his Administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the U.S.," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a press release announcing the job additions.
Softbank (SFTBY) founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, who also serves as Sprint's chairman, had pledged earlier in December that his Japanese telecom and tech holding company would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs in the country. Also, when Softbank led a $1.2 billion investment in satellite Internet provider OneWeb on Dec. 19, the startup said it would add 3,000 U.S. jobs.
A Sprint spokesman said the carrier is not receiving tax breaks or other compensation in exchange for its move, as United Technologies did when it pledged to keep 1,000 jobs in the U.S.
For Sprint, of course, a bigger game may be afoot.
Since Softbank spent $21.6 billion for a majority position in Sprint in 2013, Son has envisioned a merger of the carrier with T-Mobile US (TMUS) - Get Report, which would create a stronger competitor to Verizon (VZ) - Get Report and AT&T (T) - Get Report , but reduce the number of national wireless carriers in the U.S. from four to three.
Obama administration regulators had pushed back against a deal, but with a new administration the possibility of a more lenient M&A review arises.
"Generally they are trying to garner favor particularly when there is a change of administration," Macquarie analyst Amy Yong said of Sprint and Softbank's entreaties to the Trump camp. "Obviously one of the biggest benefits of that would be a T-Mobile-Sprint merger."
The President-elect was quick to claim credit for Sprint's announcement, saying that the deal was "done through" Son.
Warmer relations with Washington could also help Sprint in other areas besides merger review, Yong added. Sprint could pursue partnerships that would entail regulatory oversight, for example. And it could also seek the administration's ear on issues such as net neutrality or zero rating, the practice of providing video or other content without eating into data allotments.
Sprint is not alone in trying to curry favor with the President-elect. Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report CEO Larry Page, Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report chief Elon Musk, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report CEO Tim Cook, Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report CEO Safra Catz, Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report founder Jeff Bezos and others all gathered at Trump Tower in December to meet with Trump.
Sprint said its discussions with the Trump administration were solely about jobs, and would not comment on future possibilities.
Most of new Sprint jobs will be in customer care and sales, but did not specify where in the U.S. they would be located. The telecom said it would add the positions by the end of fiscal year 2017.
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