On April 16, the Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said U.S. Department of Justice officials are “unlikely” to approve a planned merger between T-Mobile US and Sprint “as currently structured.”
Not the case according to T-Mo CEO John Legere, who has been tapped to lead the combined company if antitrust officials OK the $26 billion merger.
Tweeting on Tuesday, Legere said, “The premise of this story, as summarized in the first paragraph, is simply untrue. Out of respect for the process, we have no further comment. This continues to be our policy since we announced our merger last year.”
Former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, current COO of SoftBank, which is the majority owner of Sprint, tweeted call the Wall Street Journal report “not accurate. We continue to have discussions with regulators about our proposed merger with [T-Mobile]. That process is ongoing and we have no further comment.”
Claure and Legere are both in Washington D.C. this week and have been regularly meeting, both formally and informally, with lawmakers and government officials involved in the merger review.
Seeking buy-in from federal officials, Legere has painted the merger as good for competition in the domestic wireless market, a job creator and key to ensuring U.S. leadership in 5G deployment. While Sprint and T-Mobile have independent plans to deploy 5G, the companies have complementary spectrum holdings and say the combined entity will offer nationwide coverage.
Legere made the point again in an April 11 blog post. “5G will unleash a massive new round of innovation way beyond what we’ve seen in wireless to date, spurring incredible economic growth. 5G will spur $275 billion in new investment, creating three million new jobs and adding $500 billion to the economy by 2024 (Source: CTIA). In fact, it’s estimated that one out of every 100 Americans will benefit from a new 5G job.”
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