Report: Deutsche Telekom AG May Sell T-Mobile To Softbank, Will Keep Minority Stake

Back in December, we caught wind that Japan’s Softbank was looking to snag T-Mobile, and now that deal is closer to becoming reality, according to new reports. Deutsche Telekom AG currently owns a majority stake in T-Mobile, but it’s apparently willing to sell that majority to Softbank while keeping a minority stake for itself.

The news was originally leaked by Kyoto News Agency, but Reuter’s sources confirmed it while noting that there have been complications, not the least of which is overcoming regulatory concerns in the U.S.

Softbank/Sprint's Son
Softbank/Sprint's Son (Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

The issue here is primarily is that Softbank also owns most of Sprint, and if it acquires a controlling share in T-Mobile, the number of wireless carriers in the U.S. will effectively be reduced from four to three.

The FCC and U.S. Justice Department have recently been less than enthusiastic about allowing this sort of deal go through, for obvious competition reasons.

Softbank’s president (and Sprint’s chairman) Masayoshi Son has been banging the drum in favor of a deal, promising that a Sprint/T-Mobile merger would give more, not less, competition to the “duopoly” of Verizon and AT&T, and that he would upgrade the U.S.’s Internet infrastructure were regulators to give the deal the go-ahead.