In a deal that's sure to face scrutiny from U.S. regulators, Sprint is reportedly close to sealing a deal with T-Mobile to buy the company for around $40 a share.
If the sale goes through, T-Mobile would join Sprint as the second U.S. wireless company acquired by Japan's Softbank. It would unite the third- and fourth-ranked carriers in their fight against the industry's two dominant leaders, Verizon and AT&T.
Representatives for Sprint and T-Mobile, which is currently owned by Deutsche Telekom, were reported to be close to a merger agreement Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal. Thursday morning, Reuters said they had agreed to general terms, citing "a person familiar with the matter."
"Talks are incomplete and could still fall apart," The New York Times says. "But the agreement on terms represents a turning point in a relationship between two companies that have long contemplated a merger."
Reuters notes that even if the merger is rejected, it would have real consequences for the companies involved:
"Three years ago regulators rejected AT&T's agreed $39 billion bid for T-Mobile US, which resulted in AT&T paying Deutsche Telekom as T-Mobile's full owner a reverse break-up fee of $6 billion in cash and U.S. mobile assets."