updated 12:00 pm EDT, Wed May 14, 2008
Virgin Confirms Helio Talk
Virgin Mobile USA today confirmed that it was in the early stages of talks with SK Telecom to investigate "strategic opportunities" between the two companies. The revelation partly rebuffs denials by SKT of involvement with Virgin but doesn't provide more details as to the nature of the talks beyond the statement. There are no guarantees that anything will result from negotiations, Virgin claims. The company adds that it has no plans to add more detail unless any deal is struck.
While unconfirmed and officially dismissed, SK Telecom has been reported by multiple sources as considering a merger of Helio and Virgin in an attempt to improve Helio's welfare in the US, where it struggles versus incumbent carriers such as AT&T and Sprint. Virgin itself has been struggling since the collapse of its stock over the past several months and has previously said it was investigating options that would help turn around its fortunes.
Virgin currently outranks Helio as the largest American "virtual" cellphone network operator, and like most of its kind in the country is dependent on airtime it purchases from Sprint.