Softbank ready to call off Sprint-T-Mobile merger talks

by Linda Olson November 1, 2017, 0:13
Softbank ready to call off Sprint-T-Mobile merger talks

Shares of Sprint and T-Mobile have tumbled as several news reports cast doubt on a long-expected deal between the two wireless carriers.

Sources are saying that Softbank, which owns Sprint, may be pulling out of the merger negotiations with Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile. Its board reportedly voted last week not to give up control.

The snag in the negotiations could torpedo plans in merging the T-mobile and Sprint into a single carrier with over more than 130 million US subscribers, controlled by the Deutsche Telekom, at the back of AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc.

The companies had been ironing out final terms of the merger in the hopes of announcing a deal mid to late this month, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month.

US regulators' concerns thwarted the companies' previous deal effort in 2014.

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But Softbank, Sprint's owner, seems to have soured on the idea. T-Mobile has been making market share gains since launching its Un-carrier strategy a few years ago.

Sprint shares sank as much as 13 percent in NY trading, while T-Mobile fell as much as 5.9 percent.

This actually isn't the first time that a merger between the two carries has failed. The decision was made 30 October to call the talks off, and Deutsche Telekom would be informed the following day, the report said.

A deal between Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint and Bellevue, Washington-based T-Mobile would be certain to attract heavy scrutiny from regulators, since it would reduce the four largest carriers in the country to three.

Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Telekom has maintained throughout the talks this year with SoftBank that it should maintain control of the combined company.

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