It now appears unlikely that the two wireless carriers will be able to finalize details of a merger by the end of October, people familiar with the matter said. That could push back an announcement to mid- or late November.
Sprint and Bellevue-based T-Mobile US may delay an announcement of their planned all-stock merger until several weeks after they release their quarterly earnings, people familiar with the matter said.
The companies have been trying to complete a deal in time for their earnings announcement, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. It now appears unlikely they’ll be able to finalize details by the end of October, when the wireless carriers typically announce earnings, the people said.
If a deal can’t be signed by then, the companies will probably wait two or three more weeks after disclosing quarterly results to announce an agreement, said the people. That would push back an announcement to mid- or late November. The companies may still announce the deal when they report earnings if they delay their reporting dates.
T-Mobile, the third-largest U.S. wireless provider, and No. 4 Sprint have agreed on most of the merger’s important details, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Oct. 6. Announcing a deal later this year would give U.S. regulators more time to settle into their roles as decision-makers on what will be a controversial consolidation. Makan Delrahim was confirmed by the Senate as the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division on Sept. 27.
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Sprint, mostly owned by SoftBank Group, and T-Mobile declined to comment. A representative for T-Mobile’s majority owner, Deutsche Telekom, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. SoftBank didn’t respond to a request before business hours in Japan.
AT&T dropped its acquisition of T-Mobile in 2011 after it was opposed by U.S. regulators, who argued the market needed four competing carriers. A Sprint merger with T-Mobile would also reduce the four largest U.S. carriers to three.