After a week of playing it cool and dropping subtle, flirtatious, hints about the possibility of a merger, it sounds like Sprint and T-Mobile are ready to seriously discuss whether they want to try again to get hitched.
The CEO of Sprint parent company SoftBank said this week that he’d “love to begin talks” with T-Mobile about a merger, while T-Mobile’s USA’s parents at Deutsche Telekom said they’re open to combining forces with Sprint — or anyone who wants to commit.
Both sides apparently swiped right on the Tinder: Merger Edition, and have moved on to the chatting IRL phase of courtship: Bloomberg cites insiders close to the situation who say Sprint has started preliminary conversations about a merger. Executives at both parent companies — as well as Sprint itself — have had informal contact with DT, the sources say.
Neither company has formally hired a bank to deal with a possible transaction, insiders noted, but financial firms are already lining up just in case. Representatives for both sides declined to comment on Bloomberg’s report.
Even if these two crazy kids do decide to head for the altar again, it doesn’t mean regulators will let them actually tie the knot. Regulatory concerns played a major factor in Sprint’s decision to back away from merging in 2014, and those obstacles could still be an issue.
However, new FCC Chair Ajit Pai is expected to take a light-touch approach to reviewing telecom mergers. Additionally, SoftBank execs recently met with White House officials to test the waters to see how amenable the Trump administration might be to further consolidation in the wireless market.