Shares of SBA Communications (NASDAQ:SBAC) jumped as much as 2.2% on Monday to set a fresh 52-week high. Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI) took a 3.9% leap to reach yearly highs of its own. Determined to top its competitors, American Tower (NYSE:AMT) surged 4.8%, and yes, that's another 52-week high.
Why in the world are these stodgy stocks jumping sky-high? These big winners own and manage networks of cell phone towers in North and South America. We're talking real-estate investments with a side order of long-term infrastructure installations on top. Be still, my beating heart!
But the tower operators actually have good reason to cheer today. Japanese telephony giant Softbank is preparing to pump some $20 billion into American laggard Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), and that deal would pump this sector's cash flow veins full of adrenaline.
Sprint desperately wants to build an advanced 4G LTE network to compete with Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T), but has been held back by a lack of investable funds. High-speed networking partner Clearwire (UNKNOWN:CLWR.DL) suffers from a very similar imbalance between desire to invest and the funds to make it happen. The Softbank deal would free up both companies to buy tower space again -- not to mention how it puts more pressure on the two market leaders to make their networks sparkle and shine.
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