Japanese conglomerate Softbank is apparently ready to give up control over Sprint, so as to induce Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile to seriously consider a merger. The information comes from Reuters, which cites sources close to the matter.

Apparently, Softbank has yet to directly approach Deutsche Telekom. This is so because airwave auctions are currently taking place and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has imposed anti-collusion rules that strictly ban any kind of discussions between rivals. The auctions are slated to end in April, so we can expect the companies to come out with more detail only then.

The development does not come out of the blue. Talks of a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, which are some of the biggest airwave carriers in the world, began two and a half year ago. At that time, the financial situation was such that Softbank would have received control over the merged company. Deutsche Telekom on the other hand, would have become a minority shareholder. However, things didn’t work out due to some reason.

Now though, the market dynamics have changed. While Sprint has retained its market value of around $36 Billion from that time, T-Mobile has grown up to well over $50 Billion. As such, no one was surprised when Deutsche Telekom began expressing its unwillingness to part with T-Mobile of late. However, Softbank is still interested in a merger and in fact, is open to becoming a minority shareholder in the merged entity.

Meanwhile, considering that T-Mobile and Sprint are ranked third and fourth in the world, a merger between the two is not likely to pass quite that easily. Indeed, regulators are very likely to create barriers — as they are wont to do whenever they feel a deal could harm competition.

Stocks of both T-Mobile and Sprint received a surge following the news. While, T-Mobile went up by almost 5.5 percent to achieve stability at$63.92, Sprint stock jumped by 3.3 percent to reach $9.30. While T-Mobile has around 71.5 million customers, Sprint had somewhere around 59.5 million users near the end of 2016.

When asked to comment earlier this month, SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son merely said:

We may buy, we may sell. Maybe a simple merger, we may be dealing with T-Mobile, we may be dealing with totally different people, different company.

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