FRANKFURT Softbank Corp has entered direct talks with Deutsche Telekom as it seeks to combine its Sprint Corp unit with the German company's T-Mobile US, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Telekom this week transferred ownership of its 67 percent stake in T-Mobile to a Dutch holding company from a German holding company, fuelling speculation it may be looking to sell the U.S. business.
Sprint and T-Mobile US have long wanted to combine to create a stronger rival against the top two U.S. mobile carriers, Verizon and AT&T, while Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son wants to build the world's biggest mobile Internet company.
Softbank has assurances from banks that financing is available but an agreement could still take months to reach, Bloomberg reported.
Matters to be resolved include how much cash and stock SoftBank will pay for Deutsche Telekom's stake in T-Mobile, and how Sprint and T-Mobile will be integrated, Bloomberg further reported.
Sources had told Reuters in December that Softbank was in talks to acquire T-Mobile US and was discussing funding for a deal.
Deutsche Telekom was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Additional reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Sophie Walker)