The will-they-won’t-they status of a long-rumored T-Mobile-Sprint merger continues, as the two companies are reportedly continuing negotiations following reports earlier this week that talks had broken down.
The Wall Street Journal reports that T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom have tweaked their offer, though the exact terms remain unclear. T-Mobile CEO John Legere reportedly spoke with his oft-rival, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, this week to make clear T-Mobile’s commitment to keep negotiations alive.
Earlier this week, the deal reportedly hit a stumbling block because of a disagreement over ownership of a combined T-Mobile-Sprint entity. Reports indicated that Deutsche Telekom wanted a controlling stake in the combined company, and Sprint parent company SoftBank balked.
T-Mobile and Sprint have been talking about a merger for several years. SoftBank nearly acquired T-Mobile in 2014 but the deal fell through after U.S. officials expressed concerns.
Any acquisition talks in the wireless industry were put on hold for the better part of a year as the Federal Communications Commission held a spectrum auction. That process ended in April and T-Mobile spent close to $8 billion to buy up huge chunks of low-band spectrum meant to shore up signal strength within buildings and in rural areas.
About a month later, talks between T-Mobile and Sprint parent companies started up again, and it looked like the two sides were close to a deal earlier this year. Since the initial round of talks, T-Mobile has surged under Legere, passing Sprint to become the third largest wireless carrier in 2015. As a result, the basic structure of the merger flipped, with T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom as the buyers this time around.