Well, that escalated quickly. Less than two weeks after we first heard that Sprint was considering making a bid for T-Mobile in 2014, a new report claims that Sprint parent company SoftBank is now in final talks about acquiring T-Mo.
Sources speaking to Nikkei (via Reuters) say that SoftBank is in the final stages of talks with Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, about acquiring the magenta-colored U.S. carrier. SoftBank reportedly would like to pay for T-Mobile with shares of Sprint but is also said to be considering a tender offer and other types of agreements. Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom would prefer a cash deal. SoftBank's current plan is for Sprint to buy most of T-Mobile's shares next spring as part of a deal that'd be worth over $19 billion.
A rumor from last week claimed that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was actively working with several banks in an effort to acquire the financing for a T-Mobile acquisition. It certainly feels like this deal is moving along pretty quickly, but it's also worth noting that SoftBank has reportedly discussed a possible T-Mobile buyout with Deutsche Telekom in the past. We also know that DT is ready and willing to rid itself of its stake in T-Mo and exit the U.S. wireless market.
Even if SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom are in the final stages of their T-Mobile acquisition talks, there's no guarantee that such a deal will actually go down. As I've said before, a deal between Sprint/SoftBank and T-Mobile would likely face some resistance from regulators. T-Mobile's CFO has previously said that combining with Sprint is the "logical ultimate combination" that would help to create a more competitive U.S. wireless market, but with all of the major Uncarrier changes that T-Mobile has made recently, I'm betting that there are quite a few folks that'd like to see keep the four carrier arrangement that currently makes up the U.S. wireless landscape.
What do you all think of a possible Sprint/SoftBank acquisition of T-Mobile? Would the combination of the two carriers result in a more competitive mobile market in the U.S.?