Sprint May Not Fight for T-Mobile Acquisition

For all the talk about Sprint acquiring T-Mobile to challenge wireless industry behemoths Verizon and AT&T, the nationEUs third-largest carrier may not be up to the regulatory fight.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Sprint execs are huddling, trying to make a decision whether or not to move forward with a T-Mobile grab. The regrouping comes in the wake of antitrust officials expressing their displeasure at the prospects of the third- and four-largest wireless carriers further consolidating the industry by joining forces.

EUSprint Chairman Masayoshi Son and Chief Executive Dan Hesse, who met with officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission in Washington in recent weeks, always knew a deal would be a tough sell, the people said. But the men were surprised by the level of opposition and its very public nature, one of the people said,EU the Journal reported.

Not So Bold?

In December, rumors started circulating that Softbank, which recently acquired Sprint, is ready to make another bold move in the U.S. wireless industry and T-Mobile is smack dab in the center of the mix. Sprint was rumored to be considering grabbing the company, which would give the combined firm 98 million subscribers -- just 10 million fewer than AT&T and 3 million fewer than Verizon.

Almost immediately, news reports started circulating that at least six banks were working up proposals to finance a Sprint buyout of T-Mobile. Indeed, the Journal cited EUpeople familiar with the matterEU and pointed to the financing talks as another sign that the company is preparing to announce an official offer.

According to the JournalEUs sources, the deal could be worth more than $20 billion and Sprint may make the bid in January. The paper reports T-Mobile has a current market valuation of $21.8 billion. If the carriers merge, the combined...

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