By Sara Jerome - 05/05/11 07:12 PM EDT
Sprint has hired Weber Merritt, a grassroots public relations firm, according to industry sources.
That's along with public relations help from APCO Worldwide, Glen Echo Group and Abernathy MacGregor Group, as Sprint plays hardball against AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, which would leave the company trailing a distant third behind the top two wireless companies.
The latest hire, Weber Merritt, is led by Jim Weber and Bernie Merritt, who each have roots in Republican politics and served as founding partners of Qorvis Communications. Industry sources said the choice to pick up Weber Merritt shows that Sprint is serious and willing to spend to fight the merger, noting they view it as a top flight firm.
Observers expect a coalition against the merger to take shape to buy ads, file comments, hold public events and wage an online campaign. It would have potential members in public-interest and consumer groups who staunchly oppose the merger.