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Shares of US mobile carriers T-Mobile US and Sprint rose on Friday following reports that Japan’s Softbank is expected to approach T-Mobile about a possible merger in coming months.
Reuters reported that Softbank, which owns the majority of Sprint, was willing to cede control of Sprint in order to clinch a merger between the two wireless carriers. While no approach has yet been made due to legal restrictions in the US – which forbid rivals from engaging in discussions during ongoing airwave auctions – negotiations are expected to begin in April, the reports stated.
Softbank previously abandoned talks to buy T-Mobile for Sprint after it ran into opposition from US antitrust regulators. Its chief executive recently said it is “open to all options”, including a bid for T-Mobile, as the new US president, Donald Trump, is seen as being receptive to mega-deals.
T-Mobile is majority owned by Deutsche Telekom. Its shares rose about 5 per cent following the announcement, while Sprint shares jumped more than 4 per cent.