T-Mobile and Sprint may finally have worked out a merger deal which could be announced as early as Sunday. That's according to unnamed sources close to the deal – which has been valued at around $26 billion. The sources have said that negotiations are not necessarily anywhere near being concluded but that both have agreed on an exact exchange ratio. For those who may not be aware, that's a fairly big step since the ratio is tied in with the number of new shares that would be given to existing shareholders. What's more Sprint's parent company, SoftBank, has agreed to allow Deutsche Telekom consolidate the new company's earnings if the merger moves forward. Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom is part-owner of T-Mobile, holding just under two-thirds of the company. Sprint's valuation in the talks is said to be set at its current market price of $6.50 per share.
However, as is usually the case with unnamed sources, it may be best to take the news with a grain of salt. This is not the first time that the two companies have been in talks regarding a merger and there's no way to verify that the talks are quite that far along. More importantly, the merger would have to pass approval from regulatory authorities in order to be finalized. In 2011, AT&T and T-Mobile attempted a merger which failed due to the fact that there are technically only four competing providers in the U.S. That doesn't mean this deal would fall through since T-Mobile and Sprint fill in at number three and four – with Sprint arguably lagging well behind the competition in several regards. That's still no guarantee that regulators will approve of a deal but may turn out to be helpful.
With that said, if talks are underway, those may still fall through at some point anyway. The previously attempted merger reportedly came to an end due to SoftBank's reluctance to let go of majority control of Sprint. That may or may not have changed but it's probably a good idea not to take any deal between the two carriers as anything more than a possibility until the deal is finalized completely.