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What the heck should you do with Sprint?

Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 | 6:15 PM ET
Buy Sprint?
Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 | 6:15 PM ET
Two weeks ago, Sprint closed on its acquisition of Clearwire, and Softbank closed its deal on Sprint. Mad Money host Jim Cramer says Sprint is now a "total battleground."

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

It had been a bet on a merger but now that merger is yesterday's news. Today Sprint is a giant question mark. What now?

"The Sprint-Nextel of old, that is, the speculative stock investment no longer exists," Cramer said.

Last year Sprint was a bet on a pending Softbank deal but on July 10th the deal closed.

"Softbank paid $21.6 billion for a 78% stake in Sprint—Softbank gets control of the company, Sprint gets a ton of cash to help pay for its big 4G infrastructure build-out, and Sprint's shareholders got $5.50 per share, plus 26 shares of the new Sprint for every 100 shares of the old Sprint that they owned."

Done.

Going forward, what should you do with this stock?

Softbank president Masayoshi Son
Yoshikazu Tsuno | AFP | Getty Images
Softbank president Masayoshi Son

It seems Wall Street can't agree. "On July 11th, the day after Softbank bought most of the company, Citigroup came out and downgraded the stock from buy to neutral. At the exact same time, though, Deutsche Bank reinstated its coverage on Sprint with a buy. Then a week ago, on the 15th, Bank of America reinstated coverage with an underperform rating. A day later, UBS raises their price target on Sprint from $6 to $7," Cramer explained.

That's enough to make your head spin.

Although Cramer concedes that the next earnings report, which is due on July 30th could be an absolute disaster, he also thinks if the stock sells off after earnings, it's a buy.

Huh?

"I know that Sprint is still in the process of building out its next generation, ultra-high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, "Cramer said. "And I'm aware that Sprint always had a lot of moving parts; now it has even more."

Nonetheless, Cramer thinks Sprint is a buy.

"In fact, it might just be the best long-term investment opportunity in the wireless industry," Cramer said.

Here's why:

Before Softbank came along and injected the company with cash, Cramer thinks Sprint was already doing a respectable job of turning itself around. Now, the turnaround should only intensify.

Also, the new Sprint will have the old CEO, Dan Hesse. The Mad Money host often cites management as a reason to own a stock and in this case, Cramer thinks Hesse is a bankable manager.

Also, Cramer sees profit margins expanding. "As the company finishes shutting down Nextel, their EBITDA margin could easily rise from 17.2% this year, to nearly 30% by 2016."

"And if you factor in the synergies from the Softbank merger then Sprint's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization could grow at a 40% compound annual clip the next two years, by far the fastest growth in the industry," he added.

However, Cramer thinks the company's Clearwire acquisition is the piece de resistance in the argument for owning the stock.

"Everybody in this space needs spectrum if they want to offer high speed service with lots of bandwidth to more customers, because they are squeezing all of the bandwidth they can out of their existing spectrum. Well, guess what, with its Clearwire acquisition, Sprint now has more than 200 megahertz of spectrum, double that of AT&T or Verizon," Cramer said. "In fact, the company now has more spectrum available for its 4G LTE network than all of their national competitors combined."

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All told, Cramer thinks the new Sprint is worth owning long-term. "Like I said, nobody expects this quarter to be good, and I think that if Sprint gets banged down on lousy looking results, that could be a fabulous opportunity to buy the stock."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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