Sprint and T-Mobile Extend Merger Deadline to July 29
Sprint and T-Mobile have announced an agreement to extend the deadline for their proposed $26 billion merger deal to July 29 (via Reuters).
The extension was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and means that the two carriers now have more time to get the proposed merger approved by both the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Justice Department's antitrust division has been exploring whether the deal would result in a major threat to competition. Earlier this month, Justice Department staff members reportedly told Sprint and T-Mobile that their planned merger is unlikely to be approved as it is currently structured.
However, in an interview on CNBC, Justice Department Antitrust Division chief Makan Delrahim said he had not made a decision regarding the T-Mobile and Sprint merger and is waiting for more information from the two companies.
"I have not made up my mind," he told CNBC. "The investigation continues. We've requested some data from the companies that will be forthcoming. We don't have a set number of meetings or a time line."
"If the case is there for us to challenge a transaction or suggest changes, we will do that," he said. The division is reviewing the argument that the deal would allow the combined company to produce a better, faster 5G, the next generation of wireless, he added.
T-Mobile and Sprint first announced plans for a merger in April 2018. If approved, the merger will combine two of the four major wireless carriers in the United States, giving the new company nearly 100 million customers.
With discussions ongoing, Sprint and T-Mobile may be willing to offer concessions that include assets sales to get the government to approve the merger plans.
However, other challenges await the two carriers, with multiple state attorneys prepared to launch lawsuits if the Justice Department doesn't end up challenging the merger, according to sources that spoke to The Wall Street Journal.