Monday saw reports that Sprint corporate parent SoftBank is said to be calling off the planned merger between their carrier and T-Mobile, due to Softbank’s fears of losing control of the combined company. T-Mobile CEO John Legere was expected to head the combined carriers.
At a SoftBank board meeting on Friday, several directors expressed doubts about giving up control of Sprint, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, the latest twist in on-and-off talks to unite the two U.S. wireless carriers that began earlier this summer.
One person briefed on the deal said SoftBank was moving toward breaking off the talks. SoftBank declined to comment.
Reuters says SoftBank could make overtures to T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom as soon as Tuesday to end the talks. SoftBank and other Sprint shareholders would have received close to 40% or slightly more of the combined company. SoftBank’s board of directors has decided that isn’t enough, but Deutsche Telekom isn’t expected to budge on demands for control.
The Sprint / T-Mobile merger has been in talks since early 2017. Recent reports indicated the deal was close to done, with the two companies said to be working on the final details.
If the deal flops, this will mark the second time a proposed merger between the #3 and #4 carriers has fallen apart. A 2013 deal would have seen SoftBank purchasing T-Mobile in a deal worth more than $20 billion. The deal was abandoned due to regulatory scrutiny.