T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint plan to announce a merger without any immediate asset sales, according to people familiar with the matter. Fred Katayama reports.
T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint plan to announce a merger without any immediate asset sales. Sources told Reuters the companies want to preserve as much of their spectrum holdings and cost synergies as they can before regulators ask for concessions. Reuters reported last week that some of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust staff were skeptical about the deal. A combination of the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers would create a business with more than 130 million U.S. subscribers, just behind Verizon and AT&T. Reuters correspondent Anjali Athavaley got the scoop: (SOUNDBITE) ANJALI ATHAVALEY, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "By not announcing divestitures initially, one, you get to keep your assets, which, for Sprint, is that spectrum that they have, the 2.5, could be important for 5G purposes. And you can also leave the door open to sell off things to appease regulators, which could increase your chances for deal approval." Sources also say T-Mobile and Sprint believe that the U.S. antitrust enforcement environment has become more favorable since 2014. Three years ago, the companies abandoned their previous effort to merge amid regulatory concerns.