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T-Mobile & Sprint close to $32 billion merger
Sprint & T-Mobile have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger valuing T-Mobile at around $32 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the deal, Sprint would pay around $40 a share for T-Mobile during the summer time. The deal would be roughly 50% cash and 50% stock. T-Mobile’s largest shareholder, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, would retain a stake of 15% to 20% in the new company.
Any deal will need approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department. If allowed, the country’s third and fourth largest wireless operators would merge and leave the country with a significant competitor eliminated.
Much like the proposed T-Mobile & AT&T merger, Sprint will have to pay T-Mobile more than $1 billion in cash and other assets if the deal is rejected. Considering Sprint has posted losses for the past seven years and is heavily in debt, it would be a massive loss for Sprint if regulators rejected the merger.
Regulators are already weighing cable giant Comcast Corp.’s $45 billion deal to buy Time Warner Cable, agreed to in February, and AT&T’s $49 billion deal last month for satellite broadcaster DirecTV.
When antitrust authorities rejected AT&T’s $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile in 2011, they did so because they believed that the U.S. market needed four national carrers.
Mr. Wheeler told Sprint’s board members that regulators would be wary of further consolidation in the wireless industry. The warning came just weeks after officials in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division told Sprint that their agency had similar reservations. Both agencies would need to clear any transaction between the two companies. The warnings to Sprint mark the latest instance in which U.S. regulators have made it clear that they want to keep four carriers. – Wall Street Journal