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Sprint shares fall 9% on reports of failed T-Mobile merger

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Sprint-owner SoftBank Group may be getting cold feet when it comes to the proposed T-Mobile U.S. merger. Sprint shares fell 9 percent following a report from the Nikkei that Softbank might be backing off from a potential agreement; T-Mobile shares fell 5 percent.

According to the report, SoftBank is expected to approach Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile as soon as Tuesday to discuss ending the merger talks. They had been in the process of finalizing details to merge the U.S.’s third and fourth-largest telecom carriers. (TechCrunch is owned by competing Verizon.)

The two had been in negotiations for months. Yet SoftBank’s board was said to have concerns about whether it would retain control after what could have been an all-stock deal in favor of Deutsche Telekom.

According to the report, “the German parent had insisted on a controlling stake, according to a source familiar with the situation. Some at SoftBank were initially amenable as long as the Japanese company retained some influence. But SoftBank’s board discussed at a meeting Friday that the company would not give up control.”

The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that SoftBank may back down. Instead of the merger, the company would make a “significant investment in its network.”

We’ve reached out to SoftBank, Sprint and T-Mobile for comment.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a Sprint and T-Mobile deal falls through. The two had tried to tie up in 2014, but called it off because of regulatory concerns.

Earlier this year, Sprint held acquisition conversations with Comcast and Charter. 

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