Softbank and T-Mobile reportedly trying again for merger
Feb 17 2017 by Michele Stevens
However, T-Mobile is now in a much better position than they were almost three years ago.
The deal has been long awaited, and now it appears things are moving in the right direction after Reuters reported Softbank is looking to approach T-Mobile regarding a possible merger.
After the auction ends in April, the two parties are expected to begin negotiations, the sources told Reuters this week.
With Deutsche Telekom unwilling to sell its stake in T-Mobile, it sounds like SoftBank is prepared to put a lot on the line - namely, giving up its majority share in Sprint. Now, however, it is T-Mobile US parent Deutsche Telekom that is in the stronger position. With that being said, neither company will be able to discuss a merger until after March 31 due to anti-collusion rules that are in place during the current wireless spectrum auction. Which has led to some people saying that SoftBank may give up control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom, which is a bit of an interesting turn of events, to say the least.
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T-Mobile's market value stands at $50 billion, which is about $20 billion higher than when it was last in merger talks with Sprint in 2014.
Two and a half years ago, SoftBank abandoned talks to acquire T-Mobile for Sprint amid opposition from USA antitrust regulators. Making it tougher to compete with them in terms of cash and customers. Despite new investment, the company's network is still viewed by many consumers as weaker than its rivals.
T-Mobile said it had 71.5 million subscribers as of December 30, while Sprint had 59.5 million. Sprint was prepared to purchase T-Mobile in a deal said to be worth more than $20 billion, but Sprint abandoned its plans in 2014 amid regulatory scrutiny, deciding that it would be too hard to win approval from regulators.
That, when coupled with the incoming changeover to 5G and the billions of dollars it will cost carriers, has SoftBank eager to see Sprint and T-Mobile join forces.