SoftBank linked to Charter talks as doubts cast on Sprint/T-Mobile tie-up

The announcement was followed by the recent unsuccessful effort to merge the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers, as Sprint parent SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE), both have shown reluctance to part with too much of their prized USA telecom assets. A combined company would have had more than 130 million US subscribers, behind Verizon Communications Inc (N:) and AT&T Inc (NYSE:).

The fact that both the companies announced the canceled collaboration at the same time, may indicate that there can be a future discussion between the companies about merging once again.

Both companies jointly said they couldn't strike mutually agreeable terms.

T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere's side: "The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders".

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure was also of the same opinion and saw the benefits of a combined operation with T-Mobile even if no deal has been ultimately reached. One source stated that Claure was told neither Deutsche Telekom nor T-Mobile wants to lose the merger deal, and as a result Sprint's board held its own meeting yesterday. If the companies had struck a deal this year, they would have had a better chance of getting government approval under the Trump administration.

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Deutsche Telekom, which has toyed with options for its USA business for years, put a courageous face on the unravelling of the deal on Saturday night, saying T-Mobile would continue its successful growth strategy.

Analysts said an end to talks to T-Mobile would leave debt-laden Sprint without the scale needed to invest in its network and to compete in a saturated market. At this point, talk of a merger is between Softbank and Charter, rather than having direct involvement with Sprint.

T-Mobile, on the other hand, is still the fastest growing and most innovative carrier in the states.

It comes as Sprint has somewhat struggled in an increasingly competitive U.S. mobile market.

It comes as SoftBank said on Thursday it has secured a 2.65 trillion yen ($23.3 billion) senior loan agreement to refinance acquisition loans for Sprint Corp and British chip designer ARM.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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