Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) has held talks to sell its T-Mobile USA unit to Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) in exchange for a major stake in the combined entity, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Talks have been on and off, and a deal may not be reached, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private. The companies haven’t been able to agree on the valuation of T-Mobile USA, which reported a drop in profit in the fourth quarter, the people said. Sprint and Deutsche Telekom shares jumped.
A merger of Sprint and T-Mobile USA would combine the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless providers behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T.