Sprint is closing in on an agreement to pay $40 a share to buy T-Mobile US, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, drawing the two companies toward a deal to combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest telecoms carriers.

The price reportedly under discussion represents about a 17 percent premium to T-Mobile’s Wednesday close and values the No. 4 carrier at more than $32 billion.

Under a proposed agreement, Sprint will offer about 50 percent stock and 50 percent cash for T-Mobile, leaving parent Deutsche Telekom with about a 15 percent stake in the combined company, Bloomberg cited people with knowledge of the matter as saying.

A deal could be announced as soon as July, Bloomberg said.

SoftBank owns a majority of Sprint, while Deutsche Telekom owns 67 percent of T-Mobile.

SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son has long been eager to buy T-Mobile and merge it with Sprint, creating a carrier with the resources to upgrade its network and better compete with market leaders AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

An exit from the U.S. would allow Deutsche Telekom to beef up its operations across Eastern Europe.

But the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department have raised concerns about such a tie-up, revolving around the risk that it could raise prices for consumers. U.S. regulators rejected AT&T’s $39 billion takeover bid for T-Mobile US in 2011.

Sprint, T-Mobile, SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, Marina Lopes in New York, and the San Francisco newsroom; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)




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