SoftBank profit climbs, keen to talk about a deal for Sprint

UPDATE 1-SoftBank profit climbs, keen to talk about a deal for Sprint (9984, S)

Sprint's stock later gave up its gains; T-Mobile ended the day up 0.8 percent.

If at first you don't succeed, wait for a new administration.

But Sprint, the No. 4 USA wireless carrier, is still making losses and remains for key focus for investors on hopes that it will merge with rival T-Mobile US Inc.

SoftBank is eager to improve the profitability of its USA mobile business through the envisaged integration, possibly under a stock-swap agreement, the sources said.

The billionaire considered buying T-Mobile before, but abandoned the effort when officials at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department signaled they would oppose such a deal.

"Basically anything is possible", Son told reporters in his comments, according to Bloomberg.

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Sprint is again promoting the possibility of a merger with rival T-Mobile U.S., after raising the issue two years ago when potential merger discussions broke off following criticisms by U.S. regulators. "And so that is why we want to be open if there are any other possibilities with better conditions and better opportunities for this industry consolidation". The list includes satellite operators Intelsat and OneWeb, WeWork, Indian m-payment company Paytm, and a 25 percent stake in ARM that would be purchased from SoftBank, according to people familiar with the matter.

T-Mobile US is a cash cow for the German telecom service operator, which owns 64 percent of the USA mobile carrier.

A combination of Sprint and T-Mobile USA, which is controlled by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, has been discussed in the past given the prospect of bringing together the two smaller US mobile networks to better challenge AT&T and Verizon. The Motley Fool recommends T-Mobile US.

T-Mobile's John Legere. Image source: T-Mobile. "I happen to think T-Mobile has many more alternative options than Sprint, but I am sure Masa would disagree".

This follows T-Mobile's recent announcement to work with partners to develop 5G technologies using T-Mobile's newly acquired 600 MHz spectrum, and marks the second major carrier to break from what had previously been mainstream talk of 5G operating in higher millimeter wave bands.

Since the previous talks, T-Mobile has overtaken its rival to become the No. 3 USA wireless carrier and SoftBank is now prepared to cede control to clinch a deal, people familiar with the matter told Reuters in February. Son said that talks had already begun with about 30 companies on potential investments.

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