Questions about how Donald Trump will govern abound. However, the new administration presents at least the possibility for Sprint (S - Get Report) chairman and backer Masayoshi Son to realize his vision of merging the wireless carrier with T-Mobile USA (TMUS - Get Report) .
Sprint pursued a deal with T-Mobile in 2013 and 2014. The Obama administration pushed back against a transaction that would reduce the number of national wireless carriers to three from four, despite Son's arguments in the media that Sprint could be a stronger competitor to Verizon (VZ - Get Report) and AT&T (T - Get Report) . Sprint eventually dropped the matter.
With Trump's victory, the stock gained more than 13% to close at $7.11 on Wednesday and during the day set a 52-week high of $7.20. Shares pulled back 3 cents to close at $7.08 Thursday.
A Clinton administration could have taken a tougher stance than Obama's regulatory regime, Evercore ISI Head of Political Analysis Terry Haines said, because of pressure from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"What you'll have with a Trump Justice Department, with oversight from a Republican House and Senate, is one where merger and acquisition activity will be viewed in a more holistic manner," Haines said, acknowledging that specifics about policy are unclear given that we don't even know who will be Attorney General. Sprint and T-Mobile could argue that the deal would benefit consumers by providing a stronger challenger to the big two carriers, he suggested, even tough it would remove a competitor from the market. "That's a big change," Haines said.
A sale of Sprint would be large. The telecom has a $27.8 billion market cap and would carry a total valuation of about $60 billion when including its net debt.
The transaction could appear moderate, however, when viewed next to AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner (TWX , which comes to nearly $109 billion when including assumed debt. Moreover, merging AT&T and Time Warner would combine one of the world's premiere content portfolios with a dominant wireless and satellite TV provider. While Sprint and T-Mobile USA are taking customers from AT&T and Verizon, they remain the bottom two wireless providers.
"The horizontal issues raised by a Sprint/T-Mobile merger seem relatively pedestrian compared to the imaginative parade of horribles envisioned in the vertical AT&T/TWX combination," Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson Research wrote in a late-October research note, after Sprint reported third-quarter earnings. "In short, the odds a [Sprint-T-mobile] deal just went up."
Sprint and T-Mobile declined to comment.