German telecoms group Deutsche Telekom (DT) is willing to retain a minority stake in a deal to sell its US mobile unit to Sprint Corp’s Japanese parent Softbank Corp, although other details such as price and financing still need to be worked out, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the situation. Yesterday Kyodo news agency reported that DT had agreed to a plan from Softbank to buy T-Mobile, but sources told Reuters that while the two sides are keen to conclude a deal, a transaction was complicated, including the issue of getting regulatory approval, as a merger would reduce the number of major US mobile competitors from four to three. In late 2011 a USD39 billion attempt to sell T-Mobile US to rival AT&T collapsed amid opposition from antitrust regulators. The sources said that one possibility is for DT to retain a roughly 15% stake in T-Mobile US as part of a deal, which would help reduce the size of the equity check that Sprint has to write for T-Mobile US, while giving the German firm the chance to benefit from potential synergies from the merger.
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