The wireless industry could undergo its biggest merger in years. Talks between T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the nation’s largest carriers, have resumed months after failing to reach a mutual agreement. Both sides were heavily engaged in discussions to merge their businesses last year, but neither side could decide on terms involving ownership and leadership.
Even before the negotiations that took place last year, T-Mobile and Sprint explored the possibility of a merger. That attempt fell apart, too. This marks the third (or fourth, depending on how you count) time the two carriers have approached each other about a potential deal.
The deal presented in 2017 would’ve had T-Mobile’s John Legere remain in charge, but SoftBank didn’t want to hand over control to Deutsche Telekom. Sprint’s parent company planned to stick around as an active partner. Because SoftBank wasn’t getting much of anything from its wish list, it backed away and left T-Mobile continuing on as a standalone company.
Stock prices on both sides began surging immediately following reports that a merger is back on the table.
T-Mobile and Sprint would likely face a large-scale investigation by the United States government. Although the current administration appears to be a lot kinder on mergers and acquisitions, the Justice Department is currently entrenched in AT&T’s proposed deal with Time Warner. That doesn’t help this particular deal, either.
Where the companies go from here will be interesting to watch, but don’t be surprised if Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank end up hanging onto their brands. Merging T-Mobile and Sprint hasn’t panned out countless times before.