Things between Sprint and Softbank just got a little juicier over the weekend. According to a report by Reuters, the Japan-based Softbank is eyeing T-Mobile US as a plan B, in case its plans to acquire Sprint don’t work out. As we recall, Softbank was proceeding nicely in its plans to take over Sprint, until Dish Network had to throw a wrench into things by offering $5 billion more than Softbank. Now, although Sprint’s leadership clearly prefers a merger with Softbank, the Japanese carrier wants us all to know that it is hedging its bets, just in case.
Apparently, Softbank and Deutsche Telekom were in talks during 2012 about a possible deal for T-Mobile in the US, and the two have had periodic discussions since then. But ever since Dish made its intents with Sprint known, conversations between Softbank and Deutsche Telekom have intensified. Deutsche Telekom currently owns a 74% stake of T-Mobile US.
Softbank’s discussions with T-Mobile are seen as a way to pressure Sprint stockholders to approve the merger with Sprint, but at this point, what happens is anyone’s guess. An interesting piece of speculation also points to the possibility of Dish acquiring T-Mobile US if Softbank wins Sprint – Dish desperately wants to enter the mobile carrier market, and Deutsche Telekom has been trying to get rid of T-Mobile US for years.
And, of course, all of this depends on what happens to Clearwire, too.
What do you want to see happen here?[Reuters via TMoNews]