Masayoshi Son says he is open to possible deals involving his U.S operation.
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son reignited speculation about a possible merger between his U.S. unit Sprint and local rival T-Mobile this week.
Responding to questions during Softbank’s fiscal third quarter investor call, Son said Sprint is becoming the "driving force" of the Japan-based telco’s growth, and is strong enough to compete on a standalone basis.
However, Son also said that he "would like to explore all the possibilities," and that he is "open to any options" regarding Sprint.
Sprint held merger talks with T-Mobile in 2014, but walked away amid stiff opposition from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ). It led to the resignation of Sprint’s then-CEO Dan Hesse.
T-Mobile was also the subject of a $39 billion takeover bid from AT&T in 2011; however, that deal was also canned due to FCC and DoJ opposition.
With Trump in the White House though, many industry observers expect regulators to soften their stance on consolidation in 2017.
Quizzed about it on this week’s results call, Son said that many companies are engaged in M&A activity, and that "the industry may be working towards that because of the expectations of President Trump’s administration."
Trump has openly talked about deregulation, Son said, therefore "I’m expecting there are many discussions on that."