Deutsche Telekom AG (DTEGY) shares rose firmly in Frankfurt Monday amid speculation of a potential merger between its majority-owned T-Mobile US (TMUS) - Get T-Mobile US, Inc. Reportunit with wireless rivalSprint (S) - Get SENTINELONE, INC. Report.
Sprint's parent Softbank Group (SFTBY) is planning to approach Deutsche Telekom about a merger between the two carriers and is prepared to give up control over a combined entity, Reuters reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Telekom shares rose more than 2.5% by 08:30 GMT to change €16.22, extending their three month gain past 12.5%. SoftBank shares closed 3.18% higher in Tokyo Monday at ¥8,789 each.
SoftBank hasn't yet met with Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile US, about a possible tie-up with Sprint because Federal Trade Commission rules bar collusion between telecommunications companies during government auctions for wireless spectrum licenses, Reuters noted.
The auction is in its final stages and is expected to end in early March, at which time, analysts have said there could be some major consolidation in the telecom space.
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges has said in recent months he is unwilling to part with T-Mobile.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile are struggling to gain market share in the U.S. wireless market, which is dominated by Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report and AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report .
The reports come at odds with comments by Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son in early February. He said during a press conference for the company's most recent results that Softbank was open to wider option for Sprint and was no longer limiting itself to pursuing a tie-up with T-Mobile.
"Three, four years ago, we were solely focused on buying T-Mobile, that was the only way we were thinking about it. We were convinced we were the acquirer and that T-Mobile was the target," Son said at the time. "Now, we may buy, we may sell, we may pursue a merger and the target may be T-Mobile or it may be someone else entirely."
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son met with Trump in December and pledged to invest $50 billion in U.S. businesses, along with a plan to create 50,000 jobs.
SoftBank, which owns about 83% of Sprint, first attempted to acquire T-Mobile in 2014 but abandoned those efforts after experiencing pushback from U.S. regulators. AT&T also was forced to abandon a $39 billion T-Mobile deal in 2011 as a result of pressure from the Obama administration.