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John Legere
T-Mobile CEO John Legere. (GeekWire File Photo)

T-Mobile and Sprint made an official announcement this morning, but not with the news many expected. After another round of merger talks, the wireless carriers said in a joint statement that they are calling off their talks.

Here’s the full announcement.

Bellevue, Washington and Overland Park, Kansas — November 4, 2017 —T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE: S) today jointly announced that they have ceased talks to merge as the companies 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. 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,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “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. 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 CEO Marcelo Claure.

Sprint President and CEO and Softbank Board member Marcelo Claure said: “While we couldn’t reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination.  However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth.  As convergence in the connectivity marketplace continues, we believe significant opportunities exist to establish strong partnerships across multiple industries.  We are determined to continue our efforts to change the wireless industry and compete fiercely.  We look forward to continuing to take the fight to the duopoly and newly emerging competitors.”

T-Mobile and Sprint, the No. 3 and 4 U.S. wireless companies, have been talking about merging, off and on, for several years. Sprint’s parent SoftBank nearly acquired T-Mobile in 2014 but the deal fell through after U.S. officials expressed concerns.

Earlier this week, the deal reportedly hit a stumbling block because of a disagreement over ownership of a combined T-Mobile/Sprint entity. But then, the Wall Street Journal said Legere had spoken with Claure to make clear T-Mobile’s commitment to keep negotiations alive. Today’s statement makes it clear the talks are over.

In an email to T-Mobile employees obtained by GeekWire, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that he remains excited about the company’s future even though the Sprint deal is not happening. Here’s the email:

There are lots of rumors swirling around — some true and some not. Here’s what’s true – T-Mobile has been talking with Sprint about a potential combination of our companies. Today we ended those discussions.

We’re always looking at partnership and growth opportunities to accelerate our business, but any deal we do has to deliver incredible long-term value to our company. That’s no small feat because we have such a bright future on our own as a standalone business. You’ve all worked so hard to put T-Mobile in this position of strength and have the options that we have. It’s incredible! This time around, we could not find an arrangement that meets our high bar – and there’s no need to settle for anything less.

So, what’s next? There’s so much left to do! The Un-carrier mission remains the same. I’ve never been more excited about our future.

John Legere
T-Mobile USA

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