Sprint and T-Mobile call off merger after months of talks

Giant International Egos May Derail The Sprint T-Mobile Merger

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 companies issued a joint statement Saturday, after a week of speculation, saying they "have ceased talks". 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.

The announcement marks the latest failed attempt to combine the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers, as Sprint parent SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), and T-Mobile parent, Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGn.DE), show unwillingness to part with too much of their prized USA telecom assets. However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile immediately replied to requests for comment by CNNMoney.

The companies expected to have a better shot at the merger this year under the Trump administration.

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And the company committed to returning US$15 billion to investors over the next three years through dividends and stock buybacks. The Seattle-based coffee giant made the announcement moments before it released its fourth-quarter earnings Thursday.

T-Mobile has seen growth in customer numbers in recent years, which many view as a reward for pioneering more customer-friendly options such as dropping two-year contracts, The Associated Press reports. But T-Mobile lobbed in a last minute counter offer and there was hope again that a deal could be salvaged.

Although it has cut its costs, Sprint is saddled with considerable debt and has endured numerous annual losses.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in May that the Obama administration was "quite tough on business", and added "the door is open" for potential mergers with the new administration.

T-Mobile, on the other hand, is still the fastest growing and most innovative carrier in the states.

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