Wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE:S) have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are looking to complete deal talks as early as next week, according to a report from Reuters
Reuters cites people familiar with the talks in saying that Deutsche Telekom, which already owns more than 63% of T-Mobile, and T-Mobile are also in the process of finalizing the debt financing package they will use to finance the deal. SoftBank owns nearly 85% of Sprint.
Word of the deal's possible conclusion sent shares of Sprint and T-Mobile higher in early trading. Sprint was up 7%, to US$6.42 a share, and T-Mobile rose about 2%, to US$65.50.
Reuters said the sources cautioned that there is no certainty a deal will be finalized. It noted that the companies came close to a merger agreement last November before SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son pulled out of the talks at the last minute.
According to Reuters, a combined Sprint/T-Mobile would have more than 127mln customers, which would create a more formidable competition for the top two U.S. wireless companies, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).
Reuters said Sprint, T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.