A Sprint and T-Mobile tie-up is looking even more likely after news this morning from Reuters that Sprint has already lined up eight banks to help finance the buyout. The debt package tops $40 billion, and includes a bridge loan of $20 billion from Softbank to Sprint, Reuters reports.
An official deal between Sprint — the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S. — and T-Mobile — the fourth largest — is expected to be announced in August. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom is expected to hold a 15 percent stake in the combined company, according to the report.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Sprint has agreed to buy T-Mobile for about $32 billion.
T-Mobile, which purchased Metro PCS last year, is now valued at $9.5 billion. The stock is up eight percent in the past year, largely due to the bold moves orchestrated by brash CEO John Legere.
Just this week, Legere announced the company’s “Uncarrier 5.0” effort, including unlimited data for streaming music and a “test drive” service that allows customers of other carriers to trial T-Mobile for seven days on a loaned iPhone.
In an interview with GeekWire this week, Legere made the case for the merger, noting that consolidation is coming in the industry.
“I know what we’ve done in the last year-and-a-half is a small inkling of what real competition is like,” Legere said. “In order to keep it going, there’s things we need in the long term — scale, spectrum, etc. And one way to get those is consolidation.”
Regulators torpedoed a $39 billion deal between AT&T and T-Mobile in 2011.
If an acquisition agreement is reached, and approved by regulators, Legere is reportedly in line to lead the combined company.
Bellevue-based T-Mobile has been adding customers at a record pace following a series of moves by Legere and his team to shake up the wireless industry.