After rampant speculation and on again, off again negotiations throughout much of the year, Sprint and T-Mobile have formally killed their plans to merge. Reports last week had already indicated that the two sides had been struggling to agree on what a merged company might look like, specifically whether T-Mobile owner Deustche Telekom or Sprint owner Softbank would have greater control. Given T-Mobile's success in the market, it's likely the company wanted control to guarantee that momentum.
A joint press release by the companies
only indicates they were "unable to find mutually agreeable terms."
"The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere in a statement. "However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record,” Legere added.
It's an amusing end to a long-standing saga, in large part because the Trump administration's likely rubber stamping of the deal may have been these companies only chance to push the merger past regulators. Wall Street had estimated that the deal might have killed anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs, potentially more employees than Sprint currently even has. History also suggests the reduction in major competitors from four to three would have reduced overall competition and likely raised rates for consumers.
Legere insisted that T-Mobile will now get back to work trying to disrupt the sector.
“Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories -- ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it." insists the CEO. "We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless. We won’t stop now.”
Sprint meanwhile will turn its attention toward plan B, which potentially could involve an acquisition by Charter Communications.