It seems that Sprint and T-Mobile are each other’s first preferences for a merger or acquisition as Bloomberg reports that the companies’ executives have held informal talks about a deal.
Well, maybe that isn’t a fair conclusion to draw as a “deal” could expand to moves of lesser stakes or agreements in the pursuit of a suitor, but nothing was divulged by the sources who are “familiar with the matter.”
Things have been quiet on the M&A front until recently because of an FCC-mandated quiet period for the duration of its 600MHz spectrum auction.
Sprint’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile in 2014 faced heavy regulatory scrutiny over anti-competitive concerns. However, with a pro-business president in office, the environment for consolidation looks to be warmer this time around. The dynamics have changed as well: T-Mobile took Sprint’s third-place spot for subscriber count last year. Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s largest stakeholders, SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom respectively, have both informed investors of their openness to consolidate (not necessarily with each other).
T-Mobile CEO John Legere has expressed interest on multiple occasions for offers, though as AT&T and Verizon have taken a media tack to their recent acquisitions, the exec could see a pure cellular route to counter “Dumb & Dumber”. Meanwhile, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was rumored to have been mulling giving up equity in a Sprint/T-Mobile merger to make a deal more appealing.