After months of anticipation that Sprint was nearing an agreement to purchase telecom giant T-Mobile, the company is now reportedly giving up such a deal. Citing an unnamed source, The Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint has "abandoned" its pursuit of T-Mobile, suggesting that there would have been too many regulatory issues as part of such a deal. Bloomberg, which also reports that talks between the two companies have ended, adds that Sprint will announce a new chief executive to replace Dan Hesse as soon as tomorrow.
The news comes just hours after a report from Bloomberg claiming that T-Mobile was planning to turn down a $15 billion bid from from Iliad in order to try and get a higher amount from the French telecommunications company. Iliad jumped into the competition to buy T-Mobile just last week with an all-cash bid, potentially throwing a wrench in the tentative agreement between T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and Sprint. However, The Journal says that this week's end of the merger talks was unrelated.
A deal to take on AT&T and Verizon
A deal between Sprint and T-Mobile would have combined the number three and four carriers in the US, and given the companies more firepower to buy up wireless spectrum that's going up for auction next year. But approval of the deal was likely to draw intense scrutiny from regulators. That's just what happened when AT&T attempted to purchase T-Mobile in 2011, a deal that was eventually shut down following a highly critical report from the Federal Communications Commission. Last week, CEOs from both Sprint and T-Mobile were said to have met with FCC chairmen Tom Wheeler to discuss details of the tentative deal, though Wheeler is reported to have been skeptical about the merger.
Both companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sprint is said to be announcing an end to the deal tomorrow.
Update August 5th, 9:10PM: Re/Code and now The Journal say Sprint plans to name Marcelo Claure as CEO. Claure is the founder of wireless company Brightstar, and joined Sprint's board back in January.