How Baker of Reuters broke the SoftBank story
Last month, Reuters reported that Japan’s SoftBank was prepared to give up control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile to clinch a merger of the two U.S. wireless carriers.
The story, by Reuters tech, media & telecom reporter and M&A team leader Liana B. Baker, reported SoftBank has been frustrated with its inability to grow significantly in the U.S. on its own, where both Sprint and T-Mobile have struggled to compete with Verizon and AT&T.
Baker spoke in a Reuters Best about her reporting of the story. Here is an excerpt:
Q. How did you score this exclusive?
A. My background at Reuters is in company news reporting in the cable and media sector and I often keep track of earnings calls and reports from the largest companies to see if there is any material that could be useful in speaking to sources. In January and early February, T-Mobile, Sprint and Softbank reported earnings and their top executives, when discussing industry consolidation, struck a slightly different tone on their calls. This prompted me to ask sources about the change in tone, which led to the scoop.
Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved in the story?
A. Reporters can never reveal their sources but M&A reporters regularly speak with dealmakers that could include bankers, lawyers, company sources, traders, traders and analysts. One resource for the story was having Reuters colleagues in Europe, such as Sophie Sassard, Harro Ten Wolde and Arno Schuetze, who follow companies such as Deutsche Telekom, check in with sources in the region to make sure we were on the right track with the premise of the story. My editors in New York, Greg Roumeliotis and Tiffany Wu, were also crucial in helping craft the story angles.
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