Why Sprint Nextel merger failed

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Last week one of the news in wireless arena is Sprint Nextel wrote down all the book values for the Nextel acquisition (about $29.5 billion, see Bloomberg). Put it in perspective, this is one of the largest fiascos of corporate merger&acquisition in recent history. The magnitude is in the league of AOL and Time Warner merger in dot com days.

sprint nextel merger pic
(Mr. Forsee, left, shakes hands with Nextel founder in 2004. Source: USAtoday)

The following is from a financial advisor’s view about Sprint Nextel stock. The original source can be found here.

Gary Forsee, the former chief executive officer, was an engineer and a darn good one, too. But he didn’t know bupkis about managing people, and I think he thought communication is the Eucharistic rite in which the consecrated bread and wine is distributed among participants. Engineers are supposed to engineer, and few are qualified to run a business.

Sadly, the Sprint Nextel Corp. (S-$11.83) board of directors — having no more sense than God gave a turnip — allowed Forsee to reign too long before he was asked to resign. Engineers, like statisticians, accountants and coroners, live in a world that is black or white, right or wrong and stop or go; there’s no in-between. Gary is a well-meaning guy, a little stuffy, has superb technical expertise but couldn’t motivate a starving dog to eat red meat.

Full disclosure: yours truely went to the same engineering school Gary went. That being said, I won’t sympathize with Mr. Forsee. I think his situation is like the current US president. I mean when incompetent people are put into those high impact positions, disaster happens 🙁

For Mr. Forsee, Mr. President and other CEO/president-to-be, the lesson is know yourself before taking the important position.

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