T-Mobile USA and Sprint are getting further along in merger talks and are “close to agreeing [to] tentative terms on a deal,” Reuters reported today, citing anonymous sources.
A merger would join the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the US, leaving the country with three major nationwide carriers including Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
Sprint owner SoftBank of Japan would “own 40 to 50 percent of the combined company, while T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom will own a majority stake, two of the sources said,” according to Reuters. A deal is expected by the end of October if the negotiations don’t fall through, the report said.
A separate report at CNBC is a bit less certain that a deal will be made. The companies “have been in frequent conversations about a stock-for-stock merger,” but “negotiators are still weeks away from finalizing a deal and believe the chances of reaching an agreement are not assured,” CNBC wrote. The companies “are currently engaged in talks to hammer out a term sheet.”
T-Mobile CEO John Legere is expected to lead the combined company if there is a merger, but Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son “has made it clear he wants a say in how the company is run,” CNBC wrote.
T-Mobile and Sprint both declined comment when contacted by Ars today.
Sprint abandoned a bid for T-Mobile in 2014 when it became clear that the Obama administration would block it in order to preserve the competition created by having four major nationwide carriers. But merger talks have picked up under the Trump administration, which is not expected to block many mergers. Sprint also sought a merger with cable company Charter this year but was rejected.