Sprint near deal to buy T-Mobile USA for $50 billion, reports say

Sprint would have to pay more than $1 billion if its plan was rejected, The Wall Street Journal reported

Sprint has reached a deal to buy T-Mobile US for about US$50 billion, according to news reports on Wednesday.

Sprint, owned by Japan's Softbank, would pay about $40 per share for T-Mobile, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal could still fall apart, the Journal warned.

Such a deal would combine the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile operators, forming a larger rival to Verizon and AT&T but reducing the U.S. mobile market to just three major national carriers. Because of that change in the competitive lineup, the plan would probably face an uphill battle for regulatory approval.

If regulators rejected the plan, Sprint would have to pay T-Mobile more than $1 billion in cash and other assets, the Journal reported.

Under the proposed terms of the deal, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom would own 15 percent to 20 percent of the combined company.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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