Reports of Sprint agreement to buy T-Mobile resurface

07/11/2014 6:25 PM

07/11/2014 6:46 PM

Reports of a “basic agreement” that would let Sprint Corp. buy T-Mobile US Inc. are circulating again.

An online article Friday by the Nikkei Asian Review contained the same essential elements as unconfirmed reports in early June of a possible $32 billion transaction.

Nikkei’s account agreed with the previous reports that Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Corp., had reached “a basic agreement” with Deutsche Telekom of Germany on some terms of a deal. It echoed the earlier accounts that details still remained to be worked out.

Deutsche Telekom owns 67 percent of T-Mobile and has agreed sell more than 50 percent of T-Mobile’s shares to Sprint, the Nikkei report said. Earlier reports said Deutsche Telekom would keep about 15 percent ownership.

A spokeswoman for SoftBank declined to comment. Sprint officials could not be reached.

Friday’s report rekindled speculation about when a deal might emerge publicly. The June reports suggested an announcement could come in July or August.

Shares of Sprint rose 30 cents, or 3.6 percent, and closed Friday at $8.55. T-Mobile shares climbed 62 cents to $33.50, a 1.9 percent gain.

The new report said eight financial institutions would provide financing for the transaction. It said the group includes large Japanese banks, JPMorgan Chase in the United States and Deutsche Bank in Germany.

Nikkei also said Sprint would raise money by selling bonds to investors to repay the bank loans and provide long-term financing. It said the deal would involve a combination of stock and cash.

Sprint and T-Mobile, the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. wireless carriers, have said a combination would provide for a larger and stronger competitor to Verizon and AT&T, which each have more than twice as many subscribers as either of the smaller companies.

Sprint and SoftBank would need U.S. approval to complete any transaction that gave them control of T-Mobile. Washington officials, however, have signaled their preference for four national carriers.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com.

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