Sprint and T-Mobile are planning to officially announce their merger proposal without any major concessions in the form of asset liquidations, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the ongoing negotiations. The two wireless carriers expect authorities in the United States to demand significant divestitures should they approve the deal but apparently aren't seeking to proactively propose any particular moves on that front and instead want to first announce their intentions to merge, then cooperate with a federal probe into the matter in order to identify the key requirements on which the government would insist. This particular approach may make the antitrust review of the still-hypothetical proposal somewhat longer as the Department of Justice wouldn't be focused on any specific divestiture scenario suggested by Sprint and T-Mobile and would instead explore all related options before demanding any concessions.
The decision to not announce any planned asset liquidation alongside a merger is still understood to be a highly calculated move on the part of the two mobile service providers who are seeking to maximize the chances of their consolidation being approved by the federal government. Due to that state of affairs, their current talks haven't even led to a divestiture cap that would be included in the upcoming merger proposal, signaling that they'd still be interested in a tie-up even if the federal government forces them into major concessions. A cap may still be attached to the deal by late October or early November when Sprint and T-Mobile are presently planning on announcing it, sources close to the two telecom giants said.
The two wireless carriers are also yet to include a breakup fee into their agreement and if one is to be a part of the official proposal, it will likely become one at a direct request of Sprint's parent SoftBank, according to previous reports. While T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom see the tie-up as a large opportunity for growth, they're less reliant on its realization than Sprint currently is, with some industry analysts recently speculating that Sprint stock would crumble if the merger was to fall through now. The antitrust division of the U.S. DOJ reportedly isn't keen on approving the deal despite its Republican leadership which is traditionally more open to major business consolidations than its Democratic opposition and it's still unclear how likely are T-Mobile and Sprint to merge in the near future.