The on again off again merger of the nation’s third and fourth largest mobile carriers appears to finally be taking shape. The boards for both T-Mobile and Sprint just approved a potential merger.
Under the terms of the deal, T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom will have a controlling 40 percent stake in the newly combined company. Softbank, Sprint’s majority owner, will receive a 30 percent stake. No money will change hands as the merger will be an all-stock deal. There is also reportedly no break-up fee if the deal falls through, unlike previous efforts to merge the companies. The deal is valued somewhere north of $26 billion, Sprint’s current value. T-Mobile is currently valued at $55 billion and the two companies have about $60 billion in combined debt.
As for leadership, it seems that John Legere, the outspoken CEO of T-Mobile, will stay in charge. The company plans to have dual headquarters in Bellvue and Kansas City, the current homes of T-Mobile and Sprint, respectively.
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The deal will now head to the Department of Justice for final approval. Critics of the deal worry that reducing the number of major carriers in the country from four to three will leave fewer choices for consumers. Proponents of the deal feel that a combined Sprint/T-Mobile will provide a bigger challenge to AT&T and Verizon, the country’s two largest carriers, and thus provide more competition and lower prices. According to the Wall Street Journal, a combined company would have over 100 million customers, second only to Verizon Wireless.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for more details.