Sprint reportedly calling off T-Mobile merger talks

31 October 2017, 12:37 | Andres Norman

The Verge

The Verge

The two firms had held talks in 2014 on a merger but ended discussions in the face of opposition from USA regulators. A month ago, reports indicated that a merger would be announced by the end of October and that T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom would emerge with a majority stake in the combined company. "But SoftBank's board discussed at a meeting Friday that the company would not give up control".

SoftBank could approach Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's owner, as early as Tuesday to propose ending the negotiations, Nikkei reported. As such, the talks were called off.

Investors have cheered on a combination of T-Mobile, the third-largest US wireless carrier, with No. 4 Sprint as a way to cut costs and forge a bigger competitor to take on AT&T and Verizon Communications.

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Together, the pair would have 131 million subscribers, which would see them virtually match second-ranked AT&T and pose stiff competition to market leader Verizon Communications.

T-Mobile has done well as an independent the past few years, and consumers have benefited.

Jennifer Fritzsche of Wells Fargo wrote in a research note that SoftBank's "purposeful decision to walk away speaks loudly to the fact that Sprint's back is not against the wall". While the telecom sector has shrunk overall in 2017, some analysts see a future for both T-Mobile and Sprint. The rumored T-Mobile Sprint merger, which is just about old enough to vote, has reportedly been called off. Deutsche Telekom shares were actually slightly up, so European traders may think the company dodged a bullet.



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