SoftBank is prepared to cede control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom (DT) to secure the merger of its US operation with T-Mobile US, Reuters reported.
According to its sources, SoftBank will put the proposal to T-Mobile’s majority shareholder Deutsche Telekom in April, immediately after the conclusion of an ongoing US spectrum auction. During regulatory processes, FCC rules prevent rival companies discussing any market activity.
At the Japanese company’s Q3 results meeting earlier this month, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told shareholders it was “open to any options” on the future of Sprint, including buying, selling or merging the business. He also hinted the anticipated deregulation of the US market from the country’s new administration could lead the way to a revival of its failed T-Mobile deal.
SoftBank first tried to acquire T-Mobile during 2014, before the bid was scrapped following strong regulatory pressure. Had the initial proposal been accepted, the merged company would have operated under SoftBank’s control.
Since then market dynamics have changed significantly with T-Mobile overtaking Sprint as the US’s third largest operator and DT becoming increasingly bullish on the prospects and performance of its US brand.
Fresh reports suggest new talks will see SoftBank offer control of the merged company to DT and retain a minority stake in the new brand. The sources did not disclose the level of compensation the Japanese company would expect to receive from the deal.