This just in: Sprint and T-Mobile were seen registering for china and a food processor at the wireless big-box store. That’s right, speculation continues to heat up in the will-they-won’t-they story that would combine the country’s No. 3 and No. 4 wireless providers in matrimony.
Reuters, citing not one, but two sources close to the matter, reports that T-Mobile is close to accepting Sprint’s rose in the form of a tentative merger agreement, perhaps even by the end of October.
Renewed rumors of a pending betrothal of the two companies aren’t at all surprising: Sprint’s parent company, Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, has been looking to grow its U.S. presence ever since investing in Sprint, and T-Mobile’s European overlords at Deutsche Telekom have been trying to marry off their bratty magenta-loving offspring to nice, wealthy American company for years.
However, a possible engagement date is new. Sources note that a “major breakthrough” in recent talks has led the way for speculation that a deal is finally falling into place.
Under the tentative, but not-at-all-confirmed plan, DT would own a majority stake, while Sprint would take on 40% to 50% of the combined company, Reuters reports.
As soon as terms for the deal are reached, the wireless companies would conduct due diligence and present a finalized agreement. Sources caution, as always, that talks between the companies could falter without a deal coming to fruition.
Of course, any merger agreement between the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would require regulatory approval. That’s exactly what caused the companies to throw in the towel back in 2014.
In Aug. 2014, Sprint’s board pulled the plug on its decision to pursue T-Mobile after early talks with regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice confirmed that approving such a merger would be politely described as an uphill battle.
And T-Mobile is no stranger to being left at the altar. In 2011, AT&T tried to sweep little ol’ T-Mo off its feet, but the wedding was doomed when federal regulators refused to give their blessing to the marriage. At least T-Mobile got a few billion dollars in cash and wireless spectrum from AT&T for its troubles.