SoftBank said to be in talks for possible T-Mobile deal as backup to Sprint transactionAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Japanese carrier SoftBank entered into an agreement with Sprint late last year in which it would drop $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in the U.S. operator. The situation has gotten a bit muddier since then, though, with Dish Network entering the fray with its own $25.5 billion bid for Sprint. SoftBank has publicly said that it's confident that it will still get its deal with Sprint done, but according to a new report, the Japanese operator is getting a "Plan B" ready in case the Sprint transaction falls through.
Sources have told Reuters that SoftBank is currently in talks with Deutsche Telekom about a deal for T-Mobile US. It's said that SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom have actually been having discussions about T-Mobile since last year, but that those talks have grown more intense lately thanks to Dish's attempt to acquire Sprint. The tipsters say that SoftBank would prefer the Sprint deal, which makes sense considering that it's already got quite a bit of time invested in it, and that its negotiations for T-Mobile are only meant as a backup for the Sprint transaction.
Despite Dish's efforts to snag Sprint, SoftBank has said that it's still confident that it'll get a deal done with Sprint by July 1. SoftBank and Sprint are getting pretty far along in the process of completing their agreement, recently gaining approval from both the SEC and Committee on Foreign Investment. Still, Dish has shown that it's pretty determined to strike a deal with someone (such as Clearwire or Sprint) in order to get some help in its efforts to enter the wireless industry. That's why it may not be a bad idea for SoftBank to have a backup plan in case its agreement with Sprint falls through. T-Mobile is an especially attractive acquisition target considering that it recently merged with MetroPCS and gained quite a bit of spectrum to use for its LTE network as a result.