T-Mobile, Sprint Open Third Merger Talks In Four Years: Report

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T-Mobile and Sprint opened their third merger talks in four years, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the development. The negotiations are understood to be in a relatively early phase and the exact terms presently being discussed by the duo remain unclear. The two wireless carriers already agreed to consolidate in principle late last year but ended up walking away from the tie-up after neither of their parents was convinced by the other to cede control of a hypothetical combined entity. The deal crumbled just over five months back but some of the terms discussed as part of the previous talks may speed up the newly opened ones.

It's currently unclear which party pushed for the negotiations to be restarted and what prompted it to do so, with the wireless industry not changing much in recent months, at least not in any obvious way that would help a potential merger of the third and fourth largest mobile service provider in the United States. Despite the current political leadership almost entirely consisting of members of the Republican party that's historically friendlier toward big businesses than the Democratic one, Washington presently doesn't appear to be particularly keen on major tie-ups, especially ones in the wireless sector, having recently started its courtroom battle with AT&T over its proposed acquisition of Time Warner, a vertical merger that the Department of Justice is trying to use to create a precedent for blocking such deals that don't take out any competition from the market like a merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would.

T-Mobile will soon celebrate three years of being the third largest wireless carrier in the country, a title that it took from Sprint in August of 2015. Shares of both companies soared following the report of rekindled consolidation talks, with T-Mobile rising seven-percent and Sprint seeing its market capitalization boosted by 20 percentage points as of Tuesday morning PST. Neither telecom giant commented on the matter in any capacity and isn't expected to, with both previously describing the failure of their last merger talks as an unfortunate but unavoidable development and stating such a consolidation idea may still be revisited in the future.

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