Summary:

Virgin Mobile USA (NYSE: VM), the MVNO which just reported its Q1 earnings earlier this week, is in talks with the much smaller and troubled…

imageVirgin Mobile USA (NYSE: VM), the MVNO which just reported its Q1 earnings earlier this week, is in talks with the much smaller and troubled MVNO Helio, we have learned, even as other PE and strategic players are still circling both the companies. Helio is now controlled by SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM), after Earthlink (NSDQ: ELNK) stopped making further investments, and has been looking at options to either exit or grow. For VMUSA, as we have mentioned, some PE players have been looking at investing in the company or buying it outright, and even if the VMUSA-Helio deal comes through, the two could use some extra cash.

Under one scenario that has been discussed, SK Telecom would buy out VMUSA and do a cash infusion; then Virgin Mobile would buy Helio in an all-stock transaction. Both of the MVNOs run on the Sprint (NYSE: S) network, so at least both run on the same network. But the merger of two won’t solve any problems of scale or distribution for either of them, but at least would give the bigger partner VMUSA a high powered post-paid plan, and better handsets and phone UI. More after the jump…

SKT, South Korea

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