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T-Mobile and Sprint reportedly close to merger, bringing 3rd and 4th-largest U.S. carriers together

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

After several months of rumors and talks of a T-Mobile-Sprint merger, it looks like the deal may finally happen.

Reuters reported Friday that the nation’s third and fourth-largest wireless carriers are “close” to agreeing on the merger. Sprint owner SoftBank would own 40-to-50 percent of the combined company, Reuters reported, while T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom would have a majority stake.

The deal would be one of the first large mergers scrutinized by antitrust regulators in the Trump administration. SoftBank nearly acquired T-Mobile in 2014 but the deal fell through after U.S. officials expressed concerns.

Since then, T-Mobile has surged in recent years under CEO John Legere, passing Sprint to become the third largest wireless carrier in 2015. Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure have lobbed insults back and forth over the years as the two companies jockeyed to be the main challenger to AT&T and Verizon.

Reuters reported that Legere would lead the new combined company.

CNBC also reported earlier this week that merger talks are heating up, but noted that “negotiators are still weeks away from finalizing a deal and believe the chances of reaching an agreement are not assured.”

T-Mobile and Sprint have been talking about a merger for several years. But any acquisition talks in the wireless industry were put on hold for the better part of a year as the Federal Communications Commission held a spectrum auction. That process ended in April and T-Mobile spent close to $8 billion to buy up huge chunks of low-band spectrum meant to shore up signal strength within buildings and in rural areas.

T-Mobile has added more than 1 million net customer additions for 17 consecutive quarters. A combined company of T-Mobile and Sprint would top 130 million subscribers with a market capitalization of nearly $90 billion.

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