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Sprint's Desperate Ways, Part II

Sprint Corp. wants everyone to know it's not desperate. In the process, it's making itself look more desperate.

This was supposed to be the summer that T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint finally got together -- a merger years in the making between the No. 3 and 4 U.S. wireless carriers. But Sprint's bargaining power in any talks with its fiercest rival has diminished amid financial strains and subscriber defections. It's also clear that Masayoshi Son, the Japanese billionaire who controls Sprint's parent SoftBank Group Corp., is seeking a transaction that will free him of Sprint's headaches. Such a motivated seller creates a buyer's market.

But now Son's trying to see if he can get better offers, or at least make the folks at T-Mobile think he can. This may backfire.

While at the media CEO summit in Sun Valley this week, Son "engaged" Warren Buffett and John Malone separately about...