Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Bellevue-based T-Mobile, Sprint reportedly restart merger talks

Bellevue-based T-Mobile, Sprint reportedly restart merger talks

It was reported in early October of past year that the two carriers were talking about merging their operations together, but T-Mobile eventually issued a press release the following month saying that the deal was dead as they "were unable to find mutually agreeable terms".

T-Mobile and Sprint are discussing a possible merger again, for the third time since 2014. The latest round has been started merely five months after the previous fell through due to disagreements on who will control the combined entity. Stock of Bellevue-based T-Mobile rose 5.8 percent to $63.23 after climbing 8.1 percent in the biggest intraday gain since October 2016.

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Japan's SoftBank Group owns about 85 percent of Sprint and T-Mobile is controlled by Germany's Deutsche Telekom.

Both companies have controlling shareholders. The latest discussions are at a preliminary stage, the people said.

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Indeed, T-Mobile executives have publicly expressed regret that the carrier hasn't been able to ink a merger with Sprint. While we don't have many details on the Trump Administration's view of the merger, the result of the AT&T trial should serve as a litmus test going forward. While T-Mobile is comfortably in third place among US carriers with more subscribers than Sprint, though, T-Mo would probably be interested in Sprint's spectrum.

A number of other large investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in S. Bank of New York Mellon Corp increased its holdings in shares of Sprint by 1.5% during the third quarter. John Gilmer, VP of Data Integrity at network intelligence firm Mosaik, previously told BGR he'd be "very surprised" if Sprint doesn't have to sell some of its high-band spectrum as a regulatory condition of any merger. However, wireless carriers are more nationally competitive than the cable industry, and neither Sprint nor T-Mobile has significant interests outside the wireless industry, unlike Time Warner.

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