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T-Mobile/Sprint merger deadline pushed back to 29 July

John Legere.jpg

T-Mobile US and Sprint have pushed their $26 billion merger deadline forward three months to Monday 29 July.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the New York Post, the US attorney general, William Barr, has taken himself out of the decision-making process because of a conflict of interest.

T-Mobile US, controlled by Deutsche Telekom, and Sprint, controlled by SoftBank, want to merge the third and fourth largest mobile networks in the US to create a viable competitor to AT&T and Verizon. John Legere, current CEO of T-Mobile US, will lead the merged business.

They announced the agreement – which would give Deutsche Telekom effective control over the new company – a year ago, when they said they would create a company worth $146 billion via an all-share deal.

Deutsche Telekom said last year there would be about $43 billion in cost synergies in creating the new company. The new T-Mobile US will have standalone funding, and will pay back $8 billion worth of debt to the German parent.

The parent companies of both have agreed the merger and Sprint and T-Mobile US have gone through most of the regulatory hurdles. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is running an 180-day review and says it is now in day 148 of the process, implying it will last until early June.

But T-Mobile has told the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US financial regulator, that it has extended the deadline to late July.

Meanwhile the New York Post says Barr has recused himself from the role of the Department of Justice (DoJ) role in the joint final decision with the FCC. He was on Time Warner’s board before it was bought by AT&T and still has vested options and dividends in AT&T, says the paper, valued at between $750,000 and $1.5 million.

Now Makan Delrehim, the anti-trust chief at the DoJ, will make the final decision with the FCC. 

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