Sprint and T-Mobile are in advanced merger talks, and are looking to finalize the terms of such a deal in the next three days, Reuters reported Friday. Combined, the two companies would serve over 127 million wireless customers.
The two companies have been in on-and-off talks for years. Previous negotiations broke down over disputes on who would call the shots in a combined entity. Reuters reported Friday that T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom might be able to control the combined company’s voting shares and consolidate it on its books.
Sprint owner Softbank may still own up to 60 percent of the combined entity, according to the reports. The two companies are also in talks to raise the necessary capital to finance the deal. Both companies were close to striking a deal in November, but ultimately called it off.
A partnership between the two wireless carriers will inevitably have a significant impact on the media world as well, and perhaps even spur a new wave of media investments. Both Sprint and T-Mobile have made their own media moves in the past. T-Mobile acquired cable upstart Layer 3 TV in December, and at the time announced plans to launch a nationwide internet TV service in 2018. And Sprint acquired a 33 percent stake in Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal a little over a year ago.
Combined, the two carriers would have a better chance at taking on wireless market leaders AT&T and Verizon, both of which have extensive media holdings. Verizon operates its own TV service, and has made significant media investments with the acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo. AT&T not only operates its AT&T Uverse and Directv services, but also has an internet TV service with Directv Now. And then there is AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner, which the company is currently defending in court.