Sprint, T-Mobile revive merger talks again: report

Sprint and T-Mobile US have revived negotiations for a merger between the two mobile carriers, according to a new report Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that merger talks are back on for the third time in four years, five months after the last round of talks fell apart. It remains unclear what terms Sprint and T-Mobile are currently discussing, and the talks are preliminary, the report added.

Shares of Sprint jumped 21% in recent trading, while T-Mobile rallied 6.3%.

Sprint declined to comment. T-Mobile didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The nation’s third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers last considered a merger in late 2017, but those talks were reportedly derailed when the two sides couldn’t agree on who would control the combined company. In 2014, the Obama administration intervened to prevent a merger, arguing that consumers would benefit from lower prices with four major carriers in the U.S.

The Trump administration could also choose to oppose a Sprint-T-Mobile merger on antitrust grounds. Under President Donald Trump, the Federal Communications Commission rolled back net neutrality regulations, while the Department of Justice sued to block AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner for $85 billion.

A potential deal between Sprint and T-Mobile would be significant in size. Sprint has a market value of roughly $24.5 billion, and T-Mobile is worth about $54.1 billion.

Japanese telecom company SoftBank owns an 85% stake in Sprint. T-Mobile is controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.